The students at Neno Girls Secondary School in Malawi who receive scholarships from PWS&D are all children of God, with unique interests and challenges. Yet, they have one thing in common: they cannot afford to pay for their education. Lindiwe Muli, a 17-year-old studying in Form Three [the second-last grade], shares:
“All these years things were okay, but things started changing when my dad died. He was the one who was paying my school fees and doing everything for me. Even the relatives from my dad’s side do not help me. My mother finds it hard to find money to pay for my school fees. The best thing my mom wants is for me to get an education and find a good job.”
For Lindiwe and several of her peers, PWS&D is increasing access to education by providing funds through the Blantyre Synod Education Department.
Sarah Kunchisa is a 15-year-old who moved in with her brother following her parents’ separation. “Both of my parents are unemployed. They do not run any businesses.” Like Lindiwe, Sarah also received a scholarship from PWS&D through Blantyre Synod. Grateful for the difference the program made, Sarah explains, “The Blantyre Synod helped my mother to pay my school fees.”
Some students who receive assistance through the program come from single-parent homes, or are orphans. Often, they face other obstacles in addition to difficulty affording school, such as food insecurity. For girls, challenges are even greater, with the cultural expectation of early marriage and childbearing preventing many from pursuing higher education.
A student named Caroline Mkapita shares, “I am lucky to be here because my other friends dropped out of school due to lack of support. None of the girls in our village have managed to reach [the highest grade] and to go to college or university.” Supported by PWS&D, Caroline has made steps toward her dream of pursuing a college education. But, she knows that without further support her options are limited. “I could get married, but this bothers me a lot because I want to finish school.”
Responding for 20 Years
With help from PWS&D, the Blantyre Synod Education Department’s Neno scholarship program makes education available to some of the most vulnerable. PWS&D has been supporting this life-changing work since 2002—and it is now impacting the next generation, who can grow up with mothers that have higher education than those before. In 2021, PWS&D supported 20 young girls so they could stay in school, and build a brighter future. Lindiwe shares, “I just want to say thank you for helping me on my education.”