All of us understand the incredible importance of education as both a means to a better life and an end unto itself. However, the right to an education is a right that is too often out of reach for the people of Malawi. Only 65% of Malawians can read or write, and fewer than 1/3rd of students attend a secondary school. The numbers are even lower in the rural villages of Sakata where less than 1/10th of 1% of the people have ever attended a University. VIP is investing in education so that each and every child in Malawi is able to reach their God-given potential. Economic development is all about raising capital. Education is an investment in the most important form of capital of all: human capital.
Studies show that human brain development and growth is most rapid and vulnerable from conception to age 5 and is largely influenced by aspects such as nutrition, caregiver interactions and household environment. As a result, the experiences and interactions of children during this period fundamentally shape their overall development and lifelong prospects, making early childhood the most critical period of human development. Failure to develop properly during early childhood can lead to long-term, sometimes irreversible effects. Unfortunately, Malawi does not have a nation-wide pre-school program. Cognizant of this fact, VIP supports 15 Community-Based Childcare Centers (CBCCs) which are owned and managed by community members. These CBCCs serve as preschools and ensure that children develop properly and receive the mental, social and physical stimulation they need to reach their full potential in life.
Many of Malawi’s schools are in a state of disrepair, with leaking roofs, no desks or supplies and frequent teacher absences. To combat these problems VIP built the Chimpeni School in an area where many kids had never attended a school of any kind. We have also begun rebuilding the crumbling Sakata School block by block, adding two new blocks in 2016. As we continue to grow we will continue to expand these schools and build new ones, so that people of Malawi can have the same expectation that we in the West have: that the lives of our children will be better than our lives.