Luchenza Community Day Secondary School (LCDSS) had only a handful of classrooms, each with a large chalk board and a scattering of chairs or benches. Not entirely substantial for the hundred or so pupils taught in each classroom! But this did nothing to halter the pupils’ enthusiasm for learning.
The teachers each taught at least two subjects at the school and lessons were taken in English. Pupils wrote on scraps of paper as opposed to jotters – those fortunate enough to possess a pen that is. Others listened intently taking in as much information as they could. And when the school day came to an end, those who could afford the time went to the library to study. Needless to say there weren’t many girls in the library.
Their eagerness to learn and impeccable behaviour was a far cry from our experience of filming in schools back home. Education is valued in Malawi and every young person clearly strives to achieve. Children explained to us how they dreamt of owning a school uniform. Very few of the pupils we saw were rich enough to have one. Some had a skirt or shirt, even a blazer, but most wore somewhat random garments of clothing and many had no shoes. The peer pressure and fear of classmates saying things like “ah look at this one, he has only one shoe” came as a surprise – and a reminder that teenagers all over the world can be equally cruel.
We believe this school has become the focus of several charitable organisations and has changed since our visit.
This link will take you to the short film we produced www.rumblelimited.tv/malawi