This ambitious project sees MJL partner once again with our friends at Starfish Malawi with whom we funded the Earth Child orchard and ‘Gift a Desk.’ Starfish Malawi, a UK charity, has been an absolute pleasure to work with, and their reporting – and encouragement – has been second to none.
So, when the Starfish team told us about their desire to assist in the education of children with special needs and approached us with the potential of us funding the construction of a new £13,400 GBP special needs resource centre, it seemed like the perfect project, dovetailing nicely with the fan-funded Earth Child orchard and the school where children are now seated at desks thanks to so many of Michael’s supporters around the world.
This one will be very special, since it’s the first time that we have reached out specifically to cater for children with disabilities. This is, of course, something that Michael Jackson did throughout his life, from ensuring that his Neverland home was equipped with facities for the disabled such as cinema seats that would cater for those children who couldn’t sit up, to the grand carrousel’s ramp for disabled visitors, to the countless disabled children he visited in hospitals and orphanages around the world.
Now, Michael Jackson’s legacy of love continues in those hearts he touched. With the ongoing help and generosity of Michael’s tireless supporters worldwide, Everland Resource Centre 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 costing 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.
Starfish Malawi already has some children within their care that are blind or deaf and they would dearly like to children with these and other types of common disability to have the chance to receive a full education, allowing them to grow in self-worth and to have a better future. Together, we can make this possible.
Once the building is funded and built, in view of it being funded in Michael’s memory, together with the Everland dedication, there will be room for a painted MJ-related mural on the back wall of each classroom and this will be fulfilled by the same talented Malawian artist who replicated our artist’s beautiful Earth Child artwork, in conjunction with our own talented artist, Siren.