Petroleum Importers Limited (PIL), a consortium of four oil marketing companies in Malawi has given a lifeline to students at Makhosikazi Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) in Mzimba through a donation of 45 desks worth K4.1 million.
The school, which was opened in 2000, has had not enough desks thereby forcing students to be sitting on the floor, a situation which was described as unpleasant, especially by girls at the facility.
PIL general manager, Martin Msimuko said: “Education is one of our pillars in Corporate Social Responsibility. We do look at health, road safety and schools in education. The aim is to equip Community Day Secondary Schools by donating books or desks.
"As such when we got the call we thought it wise to assist Makhosikazi CDSS, we considered the request. When making these donations, we consider regional balance, therefore this is the third school to benefit this year after Chikwawa and Senga Bay."
A form three student at the school Collida Magawa, 17, said the situation has been disturbing for girls considering that all teachers at the school are male.
“Every time you are in class you have to be thinking about sitting properly while changing positions frequently due to the comfortability of the floor.
"Sometimes we were forced to leave the class for a few minutes to relax and stretch ourselves while lessons were in progress and we ended up missing some crucial topics.
"Every day we also have to go home dirty and you know it is very difficult here in the village to manage soap for washing uniforms on a daily basis. But now we have been saved,” she said.
The school’s headteacher MacMillan Moyo concurred with Magawa saying sometimes the students scramble for the few desks available and end up injuring each other, which also led to high dropout rate.
“I am a very happy teacher today after getting this help from PIL. I was always worried for the girl child. By nature, they are different from boys and need a comfortable environment.
"We have had situations where girls get our office chairs and we couldn’t stop them because we understood their situation."
This has forced 12 girls to drop out this year alone as compared to three boys. So, you can see that girls are the most affected,” he said.
The excitement in the students was visible as they scrambled to sit on the new desks during the event.
Makhosikazi CDSS has over 180 students and since it was opened, the school has only managed to send one girl to Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (MUBAS).