Malawi named one of Lonely Planet's Best in Travel Top Countries for 2022! Find out more.
Malawi named one of Lonely Planet's Best in Travel Top Countries for 2022! Find out more.
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Dzalanyama School Appeal

Dzalanyama School Appeal is the brainchild of Land and Lake Safaris. In 1999, the tour and safari company won a 20 year tender to operate the guest house in the Dzalanyama Forest Reserve. Extensive internal and external renovations and improvements were made and the lodge is now comfortable, clean, safe and the perfect place to unwind. To further strengthen ties with the community, Land & Lake offered support to the residents in the area. After various meetings with the community, it was decided that the local school would be the recipient of Land & Lakes support.

The Initial Years

In the initial years, the classrooms were whitewashed on an annual basis, and some repairs were made to the facilities mainly notice and blackboards. A wildlife club was set up with the assistance of the Lilongwe Branch of the Wildlife Society of Malawi, beehives were donated to assist with the relocation of the infestation of bees in the classrooms, with the idea that the honey would be harvested and sold to assist the school. This unfortunately did not happen as the bees, once moved, did not return. 

The Project Gets a Boost

The project moved into the next phase in July 2003 when 14 students, under the guidance of Claire Davidson from Ridgeway School, Plympton and King Edward VI School, Stafford, traveled to Malawi with World Challenge Expeditions. In 2004 Mark and Claire Davidson returned to the school to launch a building project: a derelict barn which was to become a dormitory for the female students.
Ridgeway School with a history of local community work, laid the foundations for the support. Claire and her husband, Mark’s, enthusiasm and driving force, motivated the entire school and community to support the project. Funds were raised, students produced teaching aids for Dzalanyama School and the outcome was beyond the original target. Not only was the dorm built in Malawi, but they managed to build a second room, with a shower and installed an eco latrine.

Year on Year Progress

From these humble beginnings, the project rolls over year on year with each volunteer, be they adults or students contribute to what is needed. The Classrooms receive new coats of paint nearly every year, repairs to blackboards and notice boards are done each year, educational murals have been painted, the staff room was rehabilitated to better cater for the teachers. A number of educational materials, books, clothes and sporting equipment has been donated. The school toilets were repaired and put into working order and the boys dormitory was renovated.

The Future

The students and teachers at Dzalanyama school remain extremely supportive of the efforts of all the volunteers and well wishes. Land and Lake, as custodians of the project, will ensure this continues into the future. The next big project that is planned is construction of teachers houses. There is always repairs and decorating needed so it’s a year on year project. Some financial intensive projects still need to be undertaken, the most important is the supply of school desks – students currently sit on the floor of the classrooms. Once finances have been secured, we will be able to purchase these desks.

The school is always consulted prior to projects being implemented and this ensures that this assistance is benefiting the community right at the grass root level. If you would like to help in any small way, do get in touch with us and we welcome any form of assistance.

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