We met Lambike at the Kachere Kastle campsite. He’s 25 years old and he worked the past 3 years as a ‘watch man’ (security guard) at that campsite. He had to quit school in Malawi in the third year of secondary school because he couldn’t afford it anymore. His dad used to be a police officer but was shot dead in 2006 in Karonga (where Lambike originally comes from). Therefore Lambike feels the pressure of both making a living for himself but also for his mother and younger brother and sister. His big wish is to become a police officer himself as well.
Education and money issues in Malawi
Unfortunately, you hear this story often in Malawi. The primary school is free in Malawi but you’ll have to pay if you want to go to secondary school. A community secondary school is about 15.000 kwacha per term (about 18,- euro). A lot of families can’t afford this and so their kids have to drop out. If you didn’t finish secondary school in Malawi it is quite hard to find a job in a country where jobs are scarce anyway. This keeps going on due to the fact that these kids get children themselves while they can’t afford to send them to school.
Lambike lives in a small village where they still pump the water from a local spring. This is quite common in Malawi. He rents a small house from his family where he sleeps on the floor on a couple of blankets. He’s quite serious about his future and manages to save some money every month which is pretty unique around here. If you do have a job a lot of your relatives and friends expect that you’ll take care of them as well. Another positive note is that he doesn’t drink or smoke…
A small investment in a bright future
With all this in mind and the fact that Lambike is a great guy we decided we wanted to support him. When we told him this he was over the moon. He started dreaming about all the things he could become if he could finish school. We gave him some time to think since this did mean that he couldn’t provide for his family for a while. The next day we were invited to his mum’s house. The whole family was waiting for us and they found two plastic chairs for their guests (being us). He discussed everything with his mother and she was thrilled her son could go back to school. Lambike also did some research and decided that the community school wasn’t for him. He came to us with an excellent private secondary school (I would have done the same 😉 ). It is a bit more expensive but you’re also better prepared for a job, college or university. When we discussed everything Lambike went to see the headteacher that same day…
A new school
The next morning he gave us the details of the school and the headteacher. Using Whatsapp we contacted the teacher and he told us that Lambike could start right away. We then made a small contract stating both our expectations. We’ll pay all school-related things and he’ll be responsible for his cost of living, rent etc. This does mean he has to work every now and then which is uncommon in Malawi. If you go to school you just go to school. After having some interesting discussions and setting up a budget plan everything became clear to all of us.
Update 17th of October
Today, on the 17th of October, Lambike went back to school again! He got some books from a local teacher so he could start learning in advance. He had to work for the past two weeks but he studied in the evening. His world is totally upside down due to the fact he can go back to school again. Way sooner than he ever expected to go back to school and now he even goes to a private school! Since Lambike is such a great guy we have all the confidence he’ll manage to graduate in two years time. We’ll keep you posted. Go Lambike!!