Construction of the Mambanje Teachers house is now in progress.
Currently, up to seven teachers at times are sharing one dilapidated four roomed cottage. The cottage has no indoor toilet or cooking facilities with the teachers being forced to use a fire in a makeshift kitchen outside. With such a situation, it is very difficult to have continuity of teaching and learning for the students who have to endure continuous changes in teaching staff as well as long periods of time where there is inadequate staff in the school. The building of the new teacher’s house not only relieves the current teacher accommodation pressure at the school, but is also in line with our overall goal of seeing Mambanje Primary School have its own satellite high school in the near future. The new teacher’s house, although still not enough, will help to accommodate the new teachers at the planned satellite high school as well. Graduating Grade 7’s from the school will no longer have to walk up to 28km a day in dangerous wildlife areas to get to the nearest secondary school.
The community has begun moulding bricks, and cleared the ground for the foundation work to start. Through utilizing the concept of community involvement, the building process has seen members of Mambanje village come together and providing the required labor towards the project. Members of the community are awarded food hampers which include the basics such as mealie meal, cooking oil and beans in exchange for the work and time that they bring to the project. Mambanje is currently going through a harsh drought and the Food for Work program has come in at a time when it is most needed. More importantly, the community members involved are learning new skills as they are being taught how to build. We are particularly excited that we have introduced a new technology to Mambanje – the Hydraform brickmaking and building technique. The Hydraform brick making machine produces environmentally friendly bricks that consist of 90% mortar and only 10% cement while the dry stacking brick laying process also reduces the cement content of the entire building. The brick making machine also has the potential to generate additional revenue for the school in the near future through sales of bricks and construction projects.
The teams on the ground are working hard to meet a target of finishing the house in time for the third school term in early September.