Two teachers from different corners of the globe will share a triumphant story about the enormous impact the opening of one school can have on young African women.
Pearson College is hosting APU: Girls on the Move – An Inspirational School for Girls as part of the United World College Global Affairs Speaker series. The event features presentations by Christie Johnson, a biology teacher at the Metchosin campus, and Memory Chazeza Mdyetseni, co-founder with Johnson and director of Atsikana Pa Ulendo (APU) Girls on the Move Secondary School. The school, which opened in 2008, is located in the village of Lilongwe in the impoverished African nation of Malawi. It has made a profound difference in the lives of hundreds of girls and young women, with many of them moving on to graduate from university and take teaching positions across Malawi as a result of their time at the school.
Johnson, who was a houseparent at Pearson when work on the school began in 2006, took four students from Pearson to the school in Malawi in June. “We wanted them to have an experience in which they were hosted by families to get a real sense of a girl’s education and why girls had such obstacles to managing to stay in school,” Johnson said.
Mdyetseni can relate to the difficulties in obtaining an education on a very personal level. She was pressured to marry prematurely, which is common in many African cultures, and potentially forgo the benefits and options an advanced education provides. She will offer her personal perspective on how an education helps disengage a cycle of poverty associated with early, frequently forced marriages.
The event takes place on Thursday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in the McConnell Theatre in Max Bell Hall at Pearson College at 650 Pearson College Dr.