St. Christopher's The Hall School
Independent Preparatory School for Boys and Girls 3-11 in Beckenham

Our Old Minibus in Disguise - Malawi Update Print E-mail

We were thrilled recently to hear news of the minibus which St Christopher's donated to Hope4Malawi in 2015.

Once used to transport boys and girls to Games matches and back and forth to Beckenham Spa, the minibus is now being put to very good use in the Blantyre region of southern Malawi. During the summer it is used every day to transport volunteers who come to work on Hope4Malawi's various projects, but year-round it is also used to distribute maize to primary schools and to transport pipes as part of Hope4Malawi's involvement in a programme bringing fresh and clean water to local communities. 

Sourcing spare parts for vehicles can be problematic out in Malawi and many vehicles are unable to negotiate rural Malawi's treacherous roads, but the old St Christopher's bus has proved itself a winner on both these fronts. During the rainy season it is the only vehicle capable of reaching the most remote schools which Hope4Malawi supports.

Many of you will remember that one of Hope4Malawi's key aims is to fund feeding programmes in primary schools; this not only ensures that pupils receive one nutritious meal each day but it also aids the pupils' concentration and encourages school attendance, as the children don't receive their meal unless they come to school. Back in 2014 we collected books to stock the library at Mpemba primary, and if you visit the library today and pull a few books off the shelves you will quickly recognise the names of many St Christopher's pupils who signed their names in the front of books which they donated. We also raised money to pay for meals at Mpemba, which now has 1,600 pupils. The maize used to make the pupils' porridge is called 'phala' in the local language (Chichewa) and just keeping Mpemba primary stocked with phala means that 25 sacks have to be delivered to the school each week. Having a reliable vehicle which can deliver the phala year-round is essential. Below you can see the St Christopher's minibus, recently refitted and painted white, packed full of sacks of phala for Mpemba:

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Making the porridge each day isn't easy: school mums work on a rota system to get up at 3:30am to collect water from the local borehole and gather firewood so as to ensure that the porridge is ready to serve to the children when they arrive at school at 7am. Here you can see the children sitting in Assembly having just eaten their porridge:
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The feeding programme and library at Mpemba primary have been so successful that last year, Mpemba pupils gained the best results from pupils at over 120 schools in rural Blantyre. Some pupils did so well that they qualified to move onto District secondary school, but unfortunately secondary education is not free in Malawi. Very few families from Mpemba primary can afford the fees for secondary school and Hope4Malawi is now looking for sponsors for those young people who have won a place at secondary school which their families cannot pay for. Sponsorship costs £20 per month for four years and covers the cost of the pupil's school fees and basic supplies. If you think you might be interested in sponsoring a young person in Malawi in this way, please contact Julia at 
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Julia recently met all the young people who are awaiting sponsorship and will be able to tell you more about them and what sponsoring a young person in Malawi entails.