ABOUT CHIMBOTA

When Our Enterprise Director, Alan Caldwell visited Malawi for the first time to visit his daughter who was volunteering there he met Phillip Chibisa who took him to see the school. In a country where secondary education in remote areas relies on the enterprise of folk other than the state, Alan saw Chimbota as a shining example of what can be achieved.

The villages of Bwelero, Chimbota and Dindano near Nkata Bay in northern Malawi were over two hours walk from the nearest school. In a remarkable partnership between the local community, an inspirational local leader, Phillip Chibisa and Kevin Troughton a teacher from St Andrews International School in Blantyre, land was purchased in 2013 and the first teaching block completed in April 2014. In December 2014 the school was visited by the Local Education Authority and passed its inspection with flying colours.

CASE STUDIES

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Phillip Ennock Siliyana Emmanuel

Phillip

Born in Dindano, Phillip got his primary education from Bwelero and Lisale schools and was selected to go to a Secondary Boarding School on Likoma Island.

Because University fees were too high for him to continue his studies, he found a job in catering at Mayoka Village in Nkhata Bay.

Phillip’s dream has always been to see a secondary school built in his community - long walks to and from school, and other factors such as economic recession meant that lots of children simply dropped out after primary school.

Dindano’s Chief Matawari also agreed with this idea, so when Kevin Troughton passed through Dindano on a village walk, they talked extensively about the possibility of setting up a project together.

Phillip came up with building plans, a budget and finally presented the complete project to Kevin, who started fundraising.

Shortly after, the project was given the go ahead. Phillip and Kevin bought the land from the community with the counsel of Chief Matawari, the government was informed, brick work started, and the first school block was ready by early 2014.

Ennock

Meet Mr Ennock Chibungu Unandi, Maths, Physical Sciences & English Grammar Teacher at Chimbota Private Secondary School.

Mr Unandi has been working at Chimbota for the last three years - he joined in October 2015 and immediately fell in love with the school, the students and the environment.

After completing his Advanced Diploma in Marine Engineering, Mr Unandi moved closer to his brother, in South Africa, to work as a technician in mechanical and marine engineering.

However, amidst rumours of violence against foreigners during the 2010 World Cup, Mr Unandi decided to return to Malawi, where he got a job as a teacher in a secondary school in Nkhata Bay, northern region.

After five years, feeling overworked and not supported by the school, Mr Unandi decided to get another job, and having heard of Chimbota, he was so struck by the project’s mission and the passion with which it was pursued that he decided to apply.

Mr Unandi mostly enjoys teaching maths and English, especially to Form 4 (highest class) students, as he feels proud to be part of their academic success.

Siliyana

Born in Dindano, from a family of farmers and carpenters, Siliyana is one of five children. She went to Bwelero Primary School and was then selected to start secondary school. After studying Forms 1 and 2 in a different school, she moved to Chimbota for Forms 3 & 4.

She prefers Chimbota to her previous school, which didn’t have a library or laboratory - before coming to Chimbota, she didn’t know how to use a computer. She would love to have more books in the library and would like to see the nine remaining computers fixed, as the whole school now only shares three functioning computers.

In 2017 she passed her Form 4 exams but wasn’t happy with the result, so decided to retake Form 4 and is currently preparing for her exams in June. Her favourite subjects are biology, physical science and English, and she hopes to continue on to University in Lilongwe or Blantyre to study civil engineering.

At the moment University fees are too high for her family, so unless she finds the necessary money by the time her exam results are out, she won’t be able to continue her education. Her plan B is to start a hair salon in Nkhata Bay, either on her own or with a friend. Siliyana loves braiding and has been doing it since she was very little.

Emmanuel

Originally from Mzuzu, Emmanuel’s parents migrated to Mangochi, where he started Primary School at Makawa. He was selected to go to secondary school, but couldn’t attend because his father passed away and the family couldn’t afford to pay fees anymore.

After repeating class 8 in a different school, he was again selected and successfully attended Mangochi Secondary School. However, he wasn’t able to sit his MSCE exams because he fell seriously ill. After a year-long recovery and following the death of his mother, he had to start working to help his older brother support the family and pay school fees for his other brothers. Whilst working in a hotel in Karonga, he completed a short course in catering and eventually got a job at Mayoka Village in Nkhata Bay.

Thanks to this job Emmanuel has been able to go back to school, and is currently attending Form 4 at Chimbota, which he loves because of its highly qualified teachers, its facilities (such as the library and the lab) and its remote location, where he can study with no distractions. He has recently been elected Head Boy and is studying really hard to get good enough marks to attend medical school in Lilongwe or Blantyre. Emmanuel has great ambitions for Chimbota - he would love for it to became a boarding school and would like to have electricity and clean water, especially for the girls.

Despite still working at Mayoka Village in the afternoons, Emmanuel can’t yet afford University fees, so he’s unsure of his future.