Compiled and Submitted By: Nancy Buhr
“During the summer of 2014 10 teacher educators from Malawi came to Lakeland University to begin classes for a Masters in Education with an emphasis in early reading. Nine of those educators completed the coursework and returned to Malawi during the summer of 2015 where they returned to Teacher Training Colleges and did research on their theses subjects. Each successfully defended their theses and was awarded a Masters degree.
They were replaced by 11 teacher educators who completed the same program successfully defending their theses in December 2016.
Not only are these educators teaching in the Teacher Training Colleges, but they are also writing textbooks and curricula, writing national tests and teacher materials and training other teacher educators. All the while they are spread throughout a country with poor roads and poor communication systems.
Unfortunately with the completion of their degrees support from the United States ended. Since research shows us that even the best educators are less successful without on-going support, I began collecting money to hold a series of conferences to help them support each other, to provide a bridge between support and autonomy.
This April I traveled to Malawi to facilitate the first conference during which they set goals and made plans for an additional five conferences over three years.
When I asked them what they would most like me to bring they asked for markers and soccer balls which are almost impossible to get there. In fact children there create their own soccer balls by wrapping plastic bags around an inflated balloon.
As we traveled the southern half of the country visiting schools, Teacher Training Colleges, and a church, we were pleased to deliver the balls and other school supplies to teachers and students who were delighted by the gifts.”