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Partnership builds new school in Malawi

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A NEW school building in Malawi was opened to the sound of celebratory songs from the hundreds of children it will benefit thanks to a partnership between three Guernsey bodies.

A joint effort between the Overseas Aid & Development Commission, a local man and the trust set up by a building contractor have together enabled a new school block to be built at Chiuzira in Malawi. The adults pictured with the students are Dr Nick Paluch, left, of the Overseas Aid & Development Commission, and Daulos Mauambeta, whose master’s degree was funded by a scholarship from Dr Keith Lloyd, right, and his family.

The town of Chiuzira has been transformed by the Guernsey Overseas Aid & Development Commission, Dr Keith Lloyd and his family and the Ellen Jane Rihoy Trust, which donated around £100,000 between them for the school as well as other projects.

These included a community centre, library and water supply built by locals and therefore also providing the townspeople with employment.

Dr Lloyd has been involved in assisting the people of Malawi for 25 years.

His family were able to fund the scholarship for a student from there, Daulos Mauambeta, who has graduated with a master’s degree at Oxford University.

The family have also set up the Tertiary Education Scholarship Trust for Africa.

‘Nelson Mandela said: “education is the most powerful weapon to use to change the world”. The Test for Africa modification on this is: “Education is the most powerful weapon to alleviate poverty”,’ said Dr Lloyd.

‘If you give education to a poor African, the recipient then uses it to improve the lives of their family in the widest sense, not just their direct offspring, but they assume responsibility for cousins, etc,’ he said.

‘Although the schoolchildren may not be aware of where Guernsey is in the world, they were said to give great thanks and have been left maps of Guernsey in the school library.’

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Dr Lloyd and Dr Nick Paluch from the Overseas Aid & Development Commission were present for the opening ceremony of the new premises.

‘Chiuzira fits well with our ethos at Overseas Aid & Development, which is to help projects to get started by giving them a hand-up rather than just a handout so that they can then become sustainable in the longer term,’ said Dr Paluch.

‘Several local builders had been involved and I was very impressed with the quality of the new classrooms.

‘They are light and airy and will provide a much better environment for learning, especially as there will be up to 50-60 pupils in each class.

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‘We particularly like to support local charities whenever we can and we have worked successfully with The Ellen Jane Rihoy Trust over a period of many years now.’

The trust got involved with the project when Liz Rihoy met Dr Lloyd at a conference in South Africa.

The main funding comes from building contractor JW Rihoy and Son Ltd. Other funds have also been introduced directly from the Rihoy family and friends.

‘The trust supports worthwhile causes mainly in the developing world, particularly Africa. In the main these causes are identified by Liz Rihoy, who works in the field of conservation and human sustainable development,’ said Jeremy Rihoy, the company’s managing director.

During the opening ceremony last month, the children of Chiuzira gave a performance they had devised specially about being respectful and not damaging their new school building.

Alex Warlow

By Alex Warlow
News reporter

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