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Vocational training responds to needs of communities

For the 12th year in a row ten young men and women followed the vocational training at the Eva Demaya Centre. In 3 to 6 months these young people are trained to become an independent professional tailor, tinsmith, bicycle repairman and carpenter.
 
 

 
 
 
 
The students are selected by the people in their own community. After the training they will return to their village to practice their new learned profession. This way a win-win situation is created: the young people have a good perspective to become economically independent as a professional worker and the community can profit from the services they offer.
 
 
After delivering their ‘masterpiece’ as proof of fitness, this year’s training was closed in November with an festive activity at the Centre. All participants receive a certificate which indicates they successfully followed the vocational programme at The Centre.
All students receive the coveted starters kit, which contains a basis set of tools and materials for their own discipline. This makes it possible to directly start their small business without the need for investing in inventory first.
 
 

 
 
The vocational program at the Centre ran its 12th year so up till now 120 young people has a solid foundation to develop themselves to become economically productive and independent but also to grow as a person. All these years the vocational program has been very succesfull and is very much appreciated by both the young people and the communities.
Expanding the program to train more people is not possible because the centre is limited to offer the young people housing during the program.
 
For next year’s vocational training a small change will be made in the selection and assignment criteria: the young men and women can freely choose the profession they feel fits them best, the traditional division in men’s and women’s jobs will be abandoned so Eva Demaya hopes to welcome the first female carpenter!

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Extension secondary school

Extensive work is presently being carried out to expand the secondary school in the community of Kamphenda.
Until now, this school consists of only one building with two classrooms, which means the students have to leave and find another school after two years of education. Most of the young people are unable to attend a secondary school further away, so they do not take their education any further.
 
 

 
 
The building of this new school block is proceeding very well. The head builder, Bosco Zgambo, is very experienced and hard-working. He lived in Lilongwe for a long time but after the death of his wife he returned to his native village, Mwazisi, which is within the catchment area of the Centre.
 
 

 
 
The school building will have two attractive and spacious classrooms, with good windows, a ceiling, a small storage room and will be equipped with electricity. Craftsmen are now working on the plastering, painting, and laying of cables. The blackboard is quite remarkable because it is made entirely from brickwork.

Now that the Kamphenda school is almost ready, the students in Kamphenda will soon be able to complete their secondary schooling, which will improve their chances on the labour market. They are very happy with this promising perspective!

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Mwanda children benefit from new primary school

On the border between Malawi and Zambia, forty kilometres west of the Eva Demaya Centre, is a high mountain called Mwanda. In the traditional culture of the Tumbuka people Mwanda is a holy mountain and is afforded great respect. The Malawians living at the bottom of this mountain decided eleven years ago to start their own primary school as the nearest school was too far for the children to walk to. Because of the long distance children started their education at an older age, dropped out after a while or didn’t attend school at all. Therefore some simple structures were made and volunteers were found to teach the youngest children in the community in Standards one to three, the first three years of primary education.

The school grew bigger and the number of pupils kept increasing. The community then started looking for funds to build a permanent school with solid, brick structures. Eva Demaya Centre was also approaced for assistance. It was like a miracle to the community when funds were found and the Centre informed them that one school block with two classrooms, two teachers’ houses and four improved pit latrines would be built.

The construction of the school started in July 2016 and Mrs Maggie Nundwe, an employee of the Centre, acted as the contractor. Mrs Nundwe organised the builders, carpenters and all necessary labourers. She organised the procurement, transport, storage and dispensing of all building materials. She even managed to significantly reduce transport costs of the building materials by negotiating with a supplier of building materials in Mzuzu with a branch in Katowo, which is only 12 km from Mwanda. During construction Mrs Nundwe stayed permanently at Mwanda and supervised all activities.
 

The community was extremely excited by the construction of the school and every day a lot of people came to help and see the progress. The community had already made enough bricks for the construction of the school. They helped with carrying sand and water and offered labour where necessary. The relationship between Maggie, the workers and the community was excellent and work went on very well.

As work had been proceeding so well and circumstances made the construction less expensive than budgeted for, it was decided to build a school block with three classrooms, three teachers’ houses, six pit latrines and renovation to the school office. The classrooms are spacious, fully cemented and with solid breezeblocks windows, providing an attractive environment for learning. The teachers’ houses are also spacious and offer perfect accommodation for the teachers.

 
The main construction of the school was finished within six months, just before Christmas. In January two visitors from Holland stayed at the Centre and so it was decided to open the school officially in their presence. It was a very festive occasion and even the rain that fell that day could not dampen the enthusiasm and happiness of the people.

The District Education Manager was the guest of honour during the function and he was greatly impressed by the beautiful structures of the Mwanda School. He promised that his governmental department would appoint two qualified teachers for the school as there was only one qualified teacher so far, who acts as the head teacher. The extra teachers from government have indeed been appointed and recently started working at Mwanda.

Because of the new structures at the school, Mwanda has now been made into a Full Primary School, which means that all eight years, from Standard one to Standard eight, are being taught there. This will significantly increase the number of children receiving proper primary education.

The beautiful, solid structures of Mwanda School, especially the school block, will offer the community a place to gather. So besides teaching, the classrooms will also be used for community meetings, for women or chiefs gatherings, for choir practice and for church prayers on Sunday. The nicely laid out school ground will now also be the sports field. The newly built school really has become the centre of the Mwanda community and for this the people are very proud and extremely grateful!

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Vocational training successful

This year’s vocational training have been closed. The to-be-tailors who were introduced to the readers in the recent newsletter, now are graduated, just like the young man who followed the education programme to be a tinsmith, bicycle repairman and carpenter
On October 15th the Centre organized a festivity to honour the students, in the presence of a large group of people.

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The vocational training is repeated yearly and is one of the pillars of the Eva Demaya Centre. The 10 youngsters – four ladies and 6 young men – stayed at the Centre for 6 month and followed a fully tended training programme. At the closing of the program and after some final exams, Jacqueline handed over their certificate of evidence.
 
 
 
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An important reason for the successful proceedings of their study, is the gift of a toolkit they each receive. Every vocational has it’s own tools, like a sewing machine, scissors, a tape measure and other indispensable materials such as fabrics and thread for the tailor and a complete carpentry outset for the carpenters.
With the tools available, the young men and women can now directly start up their own small business in their own village.

This year’s students were highly motivated, because they know all too well that the vocational training offered new chances to all those who already had the opportunity to be in the program in the earlier years.
The Eva Demaya Centre wishes them lots of good luck and success with their new vocation and finding a new (business)life in their community.

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Education for vulnerable young people

Lundu CDSS 2015 (2) (Large)Every year the Eva Demaya Centre supports 35 young people attending secondary school by paying their school fees.
There is always very high demand from the community for this financial support. Eva Demaya gives priority to vulnerable young people, of whom there are many, such as children who have lost one or both parents and children with physical disabilities. In order to be chosen for school fees support, pupils must demonstrate an appetite for hard work and must take his or her studies seriously.
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Recently there has been a move to give girls in particular greater access to secondary school education.
Girls, who often have to walk long distances to secondary schools, tend to drop out of the school system in greater numbers than boys. This is mainly because girls are needed to help at home, leaving little time for study; in addition, their long treks to and from school can be exhausting and sometimes dangerous.
Community schools are now trying to foster a greater spirit of belonging by building hostels that offer accommodation for students during the school year. For girls in particular this greatly increases the chancers of being able to complete their school education successfully.

The catchment area of the Eva Demaya Centre includes eight secondary schools and supported students are spread over all of these eight schools. This school year parents pay 55 Euros in school fees per child annually. It costs an additional 110 Euros to stay in the hostels. For many families – sometimes with more than one child – these are very large amounts.Up till now, the Centre has mainly supported students staying with their families.School fees 10 2014 (5) To increase the chances – especially for the girls – of getting a good education, Eva Demaya intends to start supporting selected pupils by also paying their hostel fees. Eva Demaya hopes for your financial support to make this possible and to help young people to work for a better future.

The photos show some of the young people who – with your help and the involvement of Eva Demaya – are being supported this year with their secondary education. Another photo shows one of the newly built hostels, where boys and girls can stay during term-time.

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New start of vocational training courses

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The Eva Demaya Centre’s vocational training courses for orphaned young people started its 11th edition last June. Again, youngsters are educated to be a tailor (4 girls) or a carpenter, tin smith or bicycle repairman (2 boys each).
The ten young people come from the more remote area’s of the catchment area of the Eva Demaya Centre. Their chances for economic independency are substantially enhanced with these vocational courses.
 
 
 
This year some new instructors are responsible for the day to day training courses.
Leonard Mkhandawire is training in carpentry and Gibson Ngoma is learning his men the craft of tin smithing.
Chancy Chirambo is educating the girls in tailoring. Chancy herself was educated through the Eva Demaya vocational training courses for tailoring in 2004 and is now a very successful tailor.

The photos show the ladies working with patterns and colourful fabrics, and how the gentlemen work the wood to make new tables and chairs.

Vocational training 2015 (6) (Large) Vocational training 2015 (10) (Large)

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Kasongwe school is finished

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Kids in Kasongwe and their teachers are very happy with their new schoolbuilding and houses for the teachers, that were built with fundings of the Adventsaction of 2013.
Building the school in Kasongwe was one of the projects of the Adventsaction of 2013, that was held under the supervision of Cordaid. The project of the building of 2 classrooms and housing for the teachers started as an initiative of the parents of the schoolgoing children in Kasongwe and the project is put to a good end because of narrow collaboration of the community and the assistence from the Eva Demaya Centre. Read more on the progress in building the school somewhere else on this site.

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10 Years vocational training courses

At the end of 2014 the 10th edition of the Eva Demaya Centre’s vocational training courses for orphaned young people was closed with a festive graduation.
Again 10 youngsters who had no future perspective because of the loss of their parents, now are educated in to be a tailor, carpenter, tin smith or bicycle repairman.
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The training courses for tin smith and bicycle repair take 3 months, for tailoring and carpenter the courses take 6 months. Business management is an important part of the courses to learn the students how to start and run a small business. Besides these job-related aspects the students also are educated in hygiene, nutrition, family planning and AIDS prevention.
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At the end of their training the students receive all materials and tools to allow them to use their newly acquired skills or to start their own business. As an example, the tailors receive a sewing machine, scissors, a tape measure and other indispensable materials such as fabrics and thread.

The orphaned young people who followed the vocational training courses were selected by their own community. Now they are graduated they will return to their own community, where they can actually start their own business and start building an economically independent life. The community takes profit in the availability of the services and skilled activities in sewing, carpentry, tinsmithing or bicycle repair these young people can provide.

In the last decade the Centre trained in total 100 young people and with your financial support Eva Demaya hopes to continue doing so in the coming years.

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Progress in building the Kasongwe primary school

In April this year the building of a primary school in Kasongwe started, as a project in which the local community and the Eva Demaya Centre closely work together.

Kasongwe is a rural area in the Nkhamanga Valley in Rumphi District in the northern part of Malawi.
In this area there are 13 villages, with an estimated 3000 inhabitants, 50% of them below the age of 18.
The nearest primary school for the youngest children was too far away for them to walk every day on dusty sand roads in the blistering heat or on muddy roads in the pouring rain.
The community decided to build a school themselves and to attract volunteers to teach the young children.
The funds that were donated by Cordaid from the Advent action last December now make it financially feasible to build the two classrooms and houses for the teachers. The Malawian government has promised to provide the teachers for the new school. EDC Photos -28-04-2014 409a
The building process is lengthy. In April people of the community started with the firing of the almost two hundred thousand bricks that are needed. The Centre assists them in the supply of wood for firing the bricks; this comes from a plantation, so that the local trees are not cut.
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At the same time the digging and making of the foundation for the new class rooms has started. All rooms will be provided with a cement floor, plastered walls, and cement seats for the children to sit on.

EDC Photos 003a The organisation and supervision on this project is operated by the Centre’s manager. The Centre also takes care of the logistics (purchase and supply of materials) and administration of the project.
The wages for the two builders and four workmen are paid out of the donation of Cordaid.
Volunteers from the village contribute with the firing and carrying of bricks and by providing accommodation for the builders and cooking for them.

The Kasongwe community is very grateful for the construction of this school building and they look forward to having their children attending primary school at a normal age every day.

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Graduation Katowo

On 5th July students at Katowo Secondary School received their final leaving certificates at a festive school get-together.

In Malawi only a small percentage of school pupils succeed in going through secondary school and completing their education.
For girls in particular it is not easy to finish secondary school, as there is still a strong tradition of marrying at a very young age or of becoming pregnant before they finish their secondary schooling.

Research indicates that young people who do finish secondary school marry at a later age, have fewer children, generally have a higher income and have a better life compared to their fellow-villagers who did not finish secondary school.

It’s against this background that the Eva Demaya Centre supports 35 secondary school students by paying their school fees every year. These students – both boys and girls – are all orphans and would not have a change to go to secondary school without the support of the Centre.