Precious Tadeyo Kamanga lives in Chipuwali Village in Usisya with his grandmother, step-father, and cousin. His family depended on small-scale farming and piece-work to earn a living but were still struggling to get sufficient food and clothing. Precious’ family were also finding it difficult to pay for his school uniform and supplies at primary school, where education is state funded. As Precious prepared to enter secondary school, the added financial pressure of paying for school fees on top of this was proving too difficult.
Precious’ school performance was also poor, as he couldn’t attend classes consistently – a consequence of living in poverty. Like many children in this situation in Malawi, Precious also needed to work to help support the family income.
How would this make you feel?
Imagine that the UK charged for secondary school fees and that your income wasn’t enough to cover this. Imagine you were unable to pay for your child’s school uniform. Or that you needed them to work a few days a week instead of going to school. How would that make you feel? You might feel that you had failed your child in some way. Despite working very hard for your family and wanting the best for your children, finding that ends do not meet can leave people feeling powerless when coming up against large systems of power and economics where the odds are stacked against them.
How did Precious and his family improve their situation?
Precious’ family contacted Temwa for support with Precious’ school supplies and costs, and following an assessment, Precious was enrolled onto Temwa’s bursary scheme. Now that Precious’ fees are paid for, and his uniform and supplies are provided, he is able to attend all of his classes. The result is that Precious has made a huge improvement in his academic performance.
With the financial pressures of school supplies and uniforms covered, Precious is more free to spend his time in Usisya Community Library. He has space to study and resources to learn from, and he sees the benefit in his school achievements. Precious is now one of the top learners in his class – which shows that with a bit of support people can achieve fantastic things.
“My performance will keep on improving since I have also become a library member. This is enabling me to borrow books and study at home,” says Precious.
Precious now feels able to complete his secondary education with support from the bursary scheme and the community library. He is already thinking about his plans after finishing his schooling: “After completing my studies, my plan is to work with Temwa to continue improving our community”.