Project - Education - Girls' Hostel

Umbwi Secondary School

We are assisting Umbwi Secondary School to find funds to build a dormitory for girls. Umbwi is a mixed boarding school. It was originally a boys' boarding school but in 1999 began to take girls. With the national emphasis on girls' education, numbers have grown. There are now 240 girls and 300 boys at the school. The number of girls could increase to 300 or more if accommodation was available.

The school has a good academic reputation and pupils obtain good results in the national exam at the end of secondary schooling. Several go on to further education, which is very limited and difficult to access in Malawi.

In 1999 there was a boys' dormitory but not one for girls. The school was forced to use an old hostel that was built to house migrant workers before they were sent to the mines in Zambia. The building was badly overcrowded, with girls sleeping two to a bed. Toilets were in poor condition, there were only four outside sinks and the shower cubicles had no water supply. It was one kilometre from the school, requiring a walk back along dark roads after evening study.

Girls dormitory building

The girls' dormitory - previously a migrant workers hostel

Girls' dormitory accomodation

Overcrowded dormitory accomodation

Poor conditions in the dormitory

Poor conditions in the dormitory

The new dormitory is being built at the edge of the school campus. The building is based on a standard design for school dormitories. This provides for two wings, each with partitioned areas with four beds and interior toilets and showers, including facilities for disabled students. The wings are joined by a covered area for washing and drying clothes. For Umbwi School, there will be two buildings, each with 20 bed areas sleeping 160. There will be 16 interior toilets and showers.

The estimated cost is £110,000. The Malawi Government and Dedza District Council cannot help because of lack of funds. We have provided £3000 from our funds and have raised £32,700 from other organisations. We are very grateful to INTO Giving, Rockspring Trust, W F Southall Trust, Arcaid and John Jarrold Trust for their contributions. Umbwi School has raised further funds to enable the construction of the first phase.

The first phase has been completed. All the girls have been moved into the new building. While this means some overcrowding and some sleeping two to a bed, it does allow all of them equal access to the internal showers and toilets.

The school would like to start construction of the second phase. This will require a further £50,000. If you know of any organisation that could help fund this project, please let us know using any of the contacts on this website.