How School Fees Can Change A Life

 ASP and SSP students pictured with Headteacher Chapata and Mr. Mulabu, this year's Story Time Representative.

ASP and SSP students pictured with Headteacher Chapata and Mr. Mulabu, this year's Story Time Representative.

On January 27th, the five, new, Form 1 (Freshman) SSP students signed their Student Agreements and paid their school fees. Without their school fees being donated, these students are the most likely to have to drop out. Read more about the SSP selection process here.

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This is Malia.

She couldn’t make it for the official ceremony we had over the weekend, as she was helping at home.

She has a 45 minute to an hour walk every day from her village, Mwima. She’s an only child and lives with her grandparents and father. Her mother passed away, and her father and grandparents are farmers. Her family farms maize (corn) and rice–commodities that often fluctuate in price during the year.

Because the family needs to purchase basic needs like soap and food, often there is very little money left over to pay for school fees. This one of the reasons why Malia was selected to be sponsored.

Now that she has her school fees taken care of, she can focus on her education.

Malia is 15 years old, and in Form 2 (Sophomore). She often attends Open School classes, which are regular classes that are held over the weekend and after school hours, for those who might need to catch up or are unable to attend a day of class during the week. Her three favorite subjects are Math, English, and History, because she understands them better than others.

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She is motivated to finish her education because of her family. She wants to get a good job after school, and support them by buying food and utensils.

Every day she walks to and from school.

Sometimes, she says, the distance she has to walk causes her to be late for class. But, she has never been turned away for being late; the teachers always accept her.

Malia faces many challenges that are familiar in Malawi. She told us that coming to school without having eaten anything, and a lack of money to buy soap, books, and a uniform, are the challenges she faces. In addition, Malia said that some subjects she does not learn as well as others because of a practice where teachers will set up time for students to copy from the board or the book, and meet dropouts to give them counseling and advice.

 Above: SSP students sign Student Agreements with Headteacher Chapata.

Above: SSP students sign Student Agreements with Headteacher Chapata.

From all of her experiences at school and seeing teachers give their time and effort, Malia says that she wants to become a teacher when she grows up.

Learn more about the Standard Sponsorship Project and the Advanced Sponsorship Project here.