Everland Malawi, a much-needed building for children with special needs in Ngolowindo, Malawi, has been fully funded by worldwide advocates of Michael Jackson through a partnership between MJL and Starfish Malawi. Everland Malawi Resource Centre will be built in the Ngolowindo community, close to the clinic, the MJL-funded Earth Child orchard and the Ngolowindo Primary school.
Everland Malawi will consist of a 2-room classroom block replete with a spacious veranda. The block will be divided into two classrooms to cater for the beginners and the more advanced learners with special needs. The £13,400 GBP costing also includes a store room for learning aids and an adjacent purpose-built pit latrine toilet block consisting of four cubicles. It will also have a ramp and wide doorways, necessary for wheelchair access.
Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world which inevitably sees children sustain many challenges, but none are more challenged than the disabled. In there is a real lack of special needs education due to the very large class sizes in primary schools with no extra classroom support or minimal extra-curricular support. Unlike in countries such as the UK, where extra support is forthcoming for and inclusive of children with disabilities, in Malawi, this is certainly not the case.
The 2014 Malawi Education Statistics reported that there were a total of just 207 special needs resource centres in the country, out of a required 3,132! This means that children with special needs in Malawi, especially the blind, deaf or those with cerebral palsy, are marginalised and thus tend to be excluded from mainstream society and placed in a position of lifelong vulnerability.
Here are are just a couple of profiles of children with special needs in Ngolowindo. These and many more over the coming years will soon have a safe and comfortable place to learn, thanks to those who gave so generously:
Once built, there will be a dedicated plaque in honour of the building being in Michael Jackson’s memory. This has already been figured into the costings and will be completed by an accomplished Malawian artist. There will also be room for a painted MJ-related mural on the back wall of each classroom and this will be fulfilled by the same gifted Malawian artist in conjunction with our own talented artist, Siren.