Project - Education - Girls' Dormitory

Umbwi Secondary School

We are assisting Umbwi Secondary School to find funds to build a dormitory for girls. Umbwi is a government 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.

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

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.

The new dormitory is being built on the school campus. The building is based on a standard design for school dormitories. This provides for partitioned bedrooms with four bunkbeds and interior toilets and showers, including facilities for disabled students. For Umbwi School, there will be two buildings, each with facilities for 160 students.

The estimated cost is £60,000 for each building. The Malawi Government and Dedza District Council cannot help because of lack of funds.

For the first building, we provided £3000 from our funds and 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 raised the remaining funds.

Students outsidethe new building.jpg

Students outsidethe new building.

Bedroom in the new building.jpg

Bedroom in the new building.

Students in the bedroom.jpg

Students in the bedroom.

Second Wing Under Construction

Second Wing Under Construction.

The construction was completed in early 2020. All the girls were moved into the new building. While this means there is still some overcrowding and some sleeping two to a bed, it does allow all of them equal access to the internal showers and toilets.

We are now raising funds for the second building. So far, we have been given £37,120. We are very grateful to individuals, the Jephcott Charitable Trust, the Alan and Nestor Ferguson Trust, W F Southall Trust, Rockspring Charitable Trust, Arcaid and Eleanor Rathbone Trust. Umbwi School have completed the construction of the foundations and exterior walls.

If you know of any organisation that could help fund this project, please let us know using any of the contacts on this website.