Marie Rickard, Champion for the Malawi Girls on the Move School project, reported at our Feb 3/20 meeting.

Calgary West got involved with a scholarship for one girl for one year and we carried that forward for many years. We helped fund various projects in conjunction with other Rotary clubs.

Initially we furnished classrooms and bought books and furnished dorm rooms.

  • We helped build a water well
  • We funded the outfitting of the primary school classrooms
  • We purchased security fencing and training for security guards and cameras on the property
  • We assisted RC of Lethbridge by participating in a District Development Fund grant to support a $350,000 Global Grant that included solar panels for all the buildings, textbooks, gas cookers, and student lockers
  • Our latest project is to build teachers' housing on the site in conjunction with RC Chinook, Lethbridge and Lethbridge Interact Club. At present the footings have been poured!

The goal of self-sustainability has almost been reached with these final infrastructure projects for staff and student classrooms. The school is flourishing. In 16 years, they have raised five million dollars, constructed 20 buildings and have over 700 graduates. Along the way, they have trained and employed local labour to build the school. The school educates annually 680 students. The student body is composed of 480 female secondary school students and 200 primary school students.

These girls have been given the gift of education. They faced desperate food insecurity, poverty, gender-based violence and early forced marriage. Now they are leaders in their communities, female role models and often fund their siblings to go to school. They work as teachers and nurses, and in preschools that they have formed in their own villages. They are forming women’s farming collectives and work in agriculture. They are now change-makers in Malawi.