The Malawi team is grateful to God and happy to tell you the feeding program is going to resume this week despite Covid-19. This Pandemic has shaken the whole world and almost everything got stuck. Schools in Malawi were closed for about five solid months. The schools re-opened in two phases. The first phase opened on 7th September, 2020 (form 4 and Standard 8 students) because they are exam classes. We were unable to re-start feeding program with these standard 8 students because they had a short period of time to prepare for their Exams and it could not work with the feeding program. The second phase re-opened on 12th October (Standard 1-7 and forms 1,2, and 3 students). The government implemented some restrictions towards feeding programs but the headteachers pleaded with the government to allow them to be conducting feeding programs and it worked. The headteachers ensured the government that they are going to follow covid-19 precautions when feeding the kids such as:
1. Do not borrow each other's plates, cups and spoons
2. When receiving porridge everybody should wear his or her face mask
3. Observing social distance when receiving porridge
4. The teacher for every class will be commanding pupils row by row to go outside and receive porridge on the line.
5. Shifting the pupils as the government has commanded so that crowding can be avoided (standard 1 and 3 go to school on the same day while standard 2 and 4 have their special days as well).
6. Class teachers also will be monitoring the pupils when receiving the porridge.
We managed to visit all the six schools in two days. We had a wonderful time talking and reasoning together with the headteachers and deputy headteachers about the feeding program. We visited the following schools;
1. MLIRA PRIMARY SCHOOL
Enrolment for this school is 789. The school is ready to start a feeding program but the headteacher will call us about the date which we can go and deliver maize and other items such as sugar, salt and forms for them to be filing after feeding the kids. This school is only supported by Operation Save
2. MCHOKERA PRIMARY SCHOOL
The Headteacher for this school is Mr. Chipala. The Deputy headteacher is Mrs. Mindozo. The school has 715 kids and 12 teachers.
CHALLENGES WHICH THIS SCHOOL IS FACING
i. Lack of spoons and plates
ii. Lack of sugar and salt
3. KATOBO PRIMARY SCHOOL
The headteacher of this school is Mr. Msanyam. The deputy headteacher is Mrs. Black. This school has 763 kids (These are from standard 1-5). Katobo primary school has 7 teachers.
CHALLENGES FACED BY THIS SCHOOL
i. They don't have maize
ii. No pots but they borrow from villages. The pots which they borrow are small and this makes the cooks cook the porridge many times for it to be enough for everyone. This challenge consumes much time for classes.
iii. Lack of salt and sugar
iv. No kitchen for cooking the porridge and they are anxious on how this problem will be solved during this coming rainy season.
v. No store room at this school. They borrow the house of the school committee chairperson to keep things. The man is trustworthy and he will be able to keep this feeding program maize which we are about to give them.
4. MOM'S DAY CARE
The headteacher of this school is Mr. Stanley Naman. Enrollment for this school is 117. Mom's has 6 teachers and two cooks. The kids are always divided into three classes;
i. Baby class / Day care
This class has got 21 kids and are from 3 months old
ii. Nursery class
This class has 35 kids
iii. Junior primary (this is from Standard 1-4)
a. Standard 1 has got 20 children
b. Standard 2 has 16 children
c. Standard 3 has got 18 Kids
d. Standard 4 has 7 kids.
The number of children will be increasing as time goes. Classes start at 7:30am and knock off at 4:00 pm. This school helps parents in such a way that kids are taken care of for the whole day. Parents have ample time to go to work and come back home knowing their children are taken care of so they may work all day. Those parents who do not go for work are also able to do their things freely. Parents are so grateful to Mom's and Operation Save for their coordination.
i. The school has no plates
i. Lack of buckets
5. CHIKWETE PRIMARY
The headteacher of this school is Mr. Kachingala. This school has 768 learners and 18 teachers. The good news is that the school has some few bags of maize which they kept from last academic year. The school is ready for the feeding program and the headteacher assured us to start feeding the kids this week from the bags of maize they kept.
6. MTEZA PRIMARY SCHOOL
The Headteacher is Mr. Aloster Kamzati. The deputy headteacher is Mr. Chadza. Enrollment for this school is 790 and has 16 teachers. 48 surrounding chiefs supply firewood for cooking porridge at this school and teachers are thankful for that. The above mentioned chiefs also provide money for milling the maize as well as female cooks who rotate now and again.
i. No sugar and salt
ii. No buckets
iii. No plates
iv. No spoons
v. No Kitchen
The headteachers are thankful because Operation Save has remembered their schools once again. The porridge helps a lot in all the schools. Feeding program has encouraged school enrolment, pass rate, and attendance. Feeding program has indeed brought good relationships between parents and teachers as well as chiefs and teachers. Some kids have learnt how to eat food on their own than before. Thank you Operation Save that you have allowed us to solve some of the school challenges. Operation Save will provide sugar, salt, buckets, plates and spoons. We also plan to buy the above mentioned kitchen utensils for the schools that have such challenges and distribute them together with maize.
Through the donors of Operation Save, Water For Life Boreholes was able to purchase eight working suits plus working boots for the team members that drill new wells in Malawi. Thanks be to God!
(Left to Right- Alfred, Patrick, Jeffery, Ezward, & Rashid)
On behalf of the all Malawi employees, Rashid said, the water project is very important because we are able to provide clean water in different communities and to people that do not have access to portable water. The water project (drilling) also provides a strong local funding platform for the organization as the income is shared to both the organization and its employees.
Water Project Repairs
Blessings Kalinda is one of our members of the water project and he oversees borehole repairs. In his remarks on the importance of the water project he said, it very important because it is one of the free services the organization provides to the communities of Malawi. This promotes the organization’s purpose in ministry. To me as a person, I am privileged because I have been employed through this and I am able to sustain my family through this work as well keep pushing God’s purpose.
Justin Maseko is our store manager and he has been working with our organization for more than 5 years. The store has been running since 2009 and ever since it’s opening it has proved to be an essential part of organization as it has been a means of raising funds locally. Not only that but it provides easy access to goods for the community members around Lumbadzi. The store has provided employment opportunity for me in which my family has been benefiting from it.
Pastor Jackson and Haleke are our Ministry Managers. Pastor Jackson has been involved with our organization since 2011. He was part of the first team that did borehole repairs in 2011. He rose to become our ministry leader in 2017. The ministry is important because its purpose is to bring people to Christ and that I believe that has been my calling. Our goal is to continue God’s work especially those places that are left unreached. We do this through the pastors conferences and at the end of the day we are sending more pastors into the remote areas of Malawi to share the gospel, Pastor Jackson.
Upon the outbreak of the Covid-19 and its first recorded case in Malawi, Operation SAVE ministry had the privilege of providing some of the essential materials recommended as measures for safety from the virus. Operation Save’s Malawi Zone Leaders and volunteers delivered 47 buckets, 15 dozen bars of hand soap and 47 bottles of hand sanitizer. These supplies were made possible through our U.S. contributors that support Operation SAVE throughout the year.
Despite Covid-19, Operation Save has finally completed the building of its’ new Mission House. Even though we were unable to host any US Mission Teams in 2020 due to Covid, Operation Save, Malawi completed the build and dedicated the New Office for our Malawi admin staff. In June 2021, Operation Save is planning it’s first US Mission Trip where US participants will be the first to be housed in our new facility. We thank God for His faithfulness to see this build through and also for all the donors that made this build possible.