Aylesbury students to build school in Africa as part of fundraising project

52 students head to Africa this summer to complete the ambitious project
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Aylesbury Grammar School has completed cultural exchanges with a Malosa School in Malawi since 2007.

The exchange allows students to immerse themselves in a different culture and also to fundraise to pay for Malosa students to visit Aylesbury, and for development projects. In July, 52 AGS students will aim to complete a more ambitious project: to build a new secondary school.

The exchange programme has in its guise as the Malawi Initiative previously built classrooms, pre-schools, provided medical sporting and teaching equipment. It has also supported female empowerment classes by providing sewing machines and completing water projects. Further details of previous projects can be found online here.

Aylesbury Grammar students providing resources for a new pre-school in Malawi.Aylesbury Grammar students providing resources for a new pre-school in Malawi.
Aylesbury Grammar students providing resources for a new pre-school in Malawi.

AGS has helped a significant number of primary schools in the Zomba region of Malawi, where there are large numbers of students per classroom, up to 167 in one school.

However, more than a third of Malawian adults are illiterate, due to the poor education system that they grew up with.

Unfortunately, secondary education in Malawi has not improved much recently, with fewer than 9% of students finishing secondary school. The UK spends more on perfume in a month than Malawi spends on education in a year. With the Malawian population projected to double in the next 16 years, it is vital that the children who will grow up there have access to sufficient education.

For this reason, the 2023 AGS Malawi exchange, will focus on constructing a new secondary school in the Zomba district to enable students to ameliorate and extend their education.

Aylesbury Grammar students providing resources for a new pre-school in Malawi.Aylesbury Grammar students providing resources for a new pre-school in Malawi.
Aylesbury Grammar students providing resources for a new pre-school in Malawi.

To enable this to happen the school has worked with the Malawi education board to find a suitable site. After finding a site shown here in Msalabani, the school discussed the requirements and plans with the local community.

The regional board has confirmed that the school will be staffed and opened in September.

AGS has completed the groundworks and made significant progress on the first phase of the construction with the completion of the classroom blocks and the student toilets.

The school admin block and headteacher’s house are also nearing completion. The Malawi electric board which has indicated that it will extend the electric grid to the new Msalabani Secondary School, which will also provide electricity to the locals. However, this is likely to cost about £17,000. Enough money has been raised to ensure the school is able to open in September with the minimum requirements set by the education board, but the amount of additional buildings constructed entirely depends on the amount of fundraising the school can raise.

Aylesbury Grammar students providing resources for a new pre-school in Malawi.Aylesbury Grammar students providing resources for a new pre-school in Malawi.
Aylesbury Grammar students providing resources for a new pre-school in Malawi.

Donations can be made to the main office at Aylesbury Grammar School. The school is after, teaching resources, pens, pencils, textbooks, sewing machines (electric), team kits, sports equipment, IT equipment and more. AGS also supports primary schools and pre-schools, so any learning toys, sports and games equipment, primary teaching resources, mini-whiteboards and board markers are welcome.

Equipment for the local hospital and nursing college is also being collected The school is after: oxygen concentrator, portable ICU cardiac monitor, surgical theatre equipment, surgical masks, surgical clothes, ibuprofen, paracetamol, other painkillers, pulse oximeter, dental compressor, dental forceps, dental scaler, dental handpieces.

The AGS students involved in the exchange have already raised over £50,000. They have completed a huge range of activities to fundraise, from car washes to quizzes, from cake sales to bingo. All the AGS Malawi exchange students and some staff are going to complete a sponsored event on the weekend of 24-25 June. Students have started activities ranging from mountain biking to cooking. More details can be found here.

The school can be contacted via email here, or on Twitter, @AGSMalawiAction.