District Governor David Stocks and Henry Mdyetseni

From Sooke to Malawi

Local Rotarians get behind African girls' school in Malawi

Sooke Rotary Club members in Sooke met on Wednesday, Feb. 8 to enjoy their weekly luncheon meeting and to hear the latest updates from Henry Mdyetseni, one of the people responsible for the success of a girls’ school in Malawi, Africa.

The local Rotarians have been key players in fund raising for the school.

David Stocks, District Governor for Rotary International District 5020, said, “This is a great source of joy for many of us,” in reference to the school.

Mdyetseni is an engineer and the husband of Memory Chazeza, one of the founders of the Atsikana Pa Ulendo (APU) which means Girls on the Move. This is a grass roots organization cofounded by Christie Johnson, a Canadian teacher, and Memory Chazeza, a Malawian teacher.

When Mdyetseni came on the scene there was no running water and almost nothing but the dream of education for poor Malawi girls.

Because of the support from Rotary the school now has four classrooms, housing, staff quarters and various other necessary buildings.

“Because of your support, this is what we have accomplished,” said Mdyetseni.

The other offshoot of the school is the creation of a trade for women. The women volunteer with the building and in the process they do learn a trade, such a bricklaying.

“It is creating a trade,” said Mdyetseni.

It helps the local economy and opens the minds of women to know they can do more than be housewives cooking, cleaning and hauling water.

“Looking at the faces you can see the transformation,” he said.

Three girls from Malawi are currently attending school in Canada and Mdyetseni said, “without Rotary they would never have the opportunity.”

He related some statistics for APU school. Ninety-three per cent of the girls (73 out of 80) passed the national exams as opposed to 57 per cent who attend national schools.

He commented on the necessity of  education and the importance to the future.

“People without education will never understand one another. Africa is corrupt and education is needed.”

He said in the future the school would like to be instrumental in training qualified teachers.

“Malawi is desperate for qualified primary teachers.”

Their slogan is “Invest in a girl and she will do the rest.”

“The problem (of educating women) is bigger than life. If you educate girls you benefit for 200 years or more,” said Mdyetseni on ending his talk to Rotary.

For more information on the ongoing work at APU, go to: www.malawigirlsonthemove.com.