‘Second chance’: In Malawi, a teacher’s salary runs an orphanage

Two-thirds of Malawian children do not complete primary school, one of the continent’s highest rates.

Malawi, Lilongwe – Caroline Kachigwali enjoys discussing science. It is the 14-year-favorite old’s subject, as she is in her final year of elementary school and aspires to be a pilot. She feels that her attraction to it will one day transform her life.

Her goals, however, were nearly derailed in 2018 when her parents died of a serious disease. She told Al Jazeera, “I stopped attending to school because I couldn’t afford to pay for those on my own.”
Malawi maintains a free primary education policy, however students must pay a few fees, including the school development fund, in order to sit for exams.

However, many people are still unable to pay, which contributes to the high cost of living.

In 2013, she began her road toward realizing her dream by enrolling in a Teachers Training College in central Malawi to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a teacher. Chilenga had previously studied journalism at the certificate level, but she dropped out because she thought she was meant to be a teacher. “I’ve always loved children,” she explained.
After completing her training, she was assigned to a government school on the outskirts of Lilongwe called Chambu, where she began teaching.
After seeing numerous children arrive to her class in tattered clothes, without shoes, and learning on an empty stomach because their parents and guardians couldn’t afford basic necessities, she founded the Zoe Foundation.

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