MALAWI. Zomba. After losing his job at a non-governmental organization, Mabvuto Mlimba decided to help the underprivileged in his area by establishing a free nursery school. He wanted to uplift the lives of young people in his home village, which is in the rural part of Zomba.
The school is part of a project which also includes helping young people in secondary schools. The nursery school comprises people who have volunteered as teachers.
The man behind the vision
Mlimba had a successful career in information technology. He worked for various organizations including one supported by the United States Agency for International Development. However, he eventually lost his job and was inspired to return to his home village. Using what little money he received as severance, Mlimba started the nursery school.
“Although there were some private nursery schools, a lot of children were not accessing early childhood education. That is when I came up with this idea,” he told Transcontinental Times. The nursery school project was later turned into a community-based organization (CBO). The work then extended to assisting needy children with fees for secondary education.
Mlimba’s organization also runs a youth center, where kids can engage in sporting activities like football and netball, which are two of the most popular games in Malawi.
The challenges they face
Mlimba says a lack of funding is a setback to his ambitious projects. Another unique challenge is the lack of understanding by some local chiefs in the area. “Many of them think our organization is similar to global organizations, which have a lot of money,” he explained. This of course is not the case.
A lack of teaching and learning materials like books, recreational equipment, and training for nursery school caregivers are among the other setbacks they face. These roadblocks have made the organization fall short of meeting the standards set by the Malawi early childhood education policy.
Plans for the future
Despite the challenges facing his organization, Mlimba dreams of reaching out to many young people and children with education and recreational activities. His efforts will hopefully empower other self-reliant and responsible citizens in his country to effect positive changes.