Mfuwe Secondary School

Boys outside the new dormitory

Boys outside the new dormitory

We first visited Mfuwe Secondary School in July 2011. It’s the only secondary school in the area and had really suffered from lack of support and increased pupil numbers. This was very evident when we looked around and we were shocked by how desperate it was for help. Since then thanks to many different donors, of which Sausage Tree is one, it is now a totally different school.

Home Economic Classroom

The Home Economic Classroom

We visited the school for the second time in September 2013 and were totally amazed by the transformation. The head teacher Mrs Chabala was so proud to show us around and was eager to get us up to date with all the facts and figures. There are currently over 800 pupils of which 500 are boys. In 2006 there were only 2 classrooms and the school had to borrow classrooms from the neighbouring primary school. Now there are 11 classrooms of which one is a science lab. One of the triple classroom blocks was donated by parents thanks to the heads enthusiasm and the others funded by local charities and safari lodges. Incredibly the government have provided 28 specialist teachers, however there are only 4 teachers’ houses.

Lu with Mrs Chabala outside the new boys dormitory

Lu with Mrs Chabala outside the new boys dormitory

In 2011 there were approximately 150 pupils boarding at Mfuwe Secondary. There was only one boys dormitory block situated a long way from the bore hole and in a desperate state. Approximately 90 boys were sleeping in a building that housed 48 and they were sleeping 4 to a bunk! They stored their luggage, books and clothes on the rafters and tried to keep it clean and tidy by having a cleaning rota. The situation has changed considerably since then.

During our visit in September 2013 we were able to see the new boys dormitories and ablution block – equipped with flushing loos, the first in the area! One of these blocks was built thanks to 6 wonderful people who climbed Kilimanjaro for Sausage Tree. The funds they raised managed to built the structure and thanks to Twyford Pre Prep and a couple of generous donors funds were raised to provide beds, mattresses, lockers and curtains.

Kilimanjaro Six

Kilimanjaro Six raised money for a new dormitory

Each block sleeps 48 boys, they still sadly have to use the old dormitory too as the numbers of pupils and boarders is constantly increasing. The number of girls boarding has also increased and their accommodation has also been hugely improved by other generous donors. In secondary education the number of girls drops off hugely as many have to stay and work at home, there are also high teenage pregnancy rates and many get married at a very young age.

New Classroom Block

New Classroom Block

There is a huge push to try and empower girls to go to secondary school in the area at the moment which is wonderful to see.

Sanitation Block completed in 2015

Sanitation Unit built at Mfuwe

Sanitation Unit built at Mfuwe

Sausage Tree completed building a sanitation unit for the girls. The number of girls completing secondary school is far less than the number of boys. Many drop out because of funding, marriage, pregnancy or to work at home.

Sausage Tree and other teams out in Zambia are really behind a real drive to increase the number of girls in secondary education. At Mfuwe the girls now have a proper ablution block, the sanitation unit is key because without it the plumbing at Mfuwe would not cope.  Sometimes these small issues can have a big impact.  This is why Sausage Tree funded the project.

Future Projects for the school

There has been an incredible amount of progress at this school over the last few years and it is wonderful to see, however there is still a long way to go. They still need more classrooms and would love a school hall which could be used as a dining room during the rains, for sports, after-school clubs and a number of other activities. There are only 4 teachers’ houses which is far from ideal especially as there are 250 boarders on site.

Elephants are a problem in the area and do to a great job of stopping boys and girls mixing after dark but having more staff living at the school would be a huge advantage to everyone. The school are also very keen to start Agricultural Science as one of their subjects. For this to be achieved they need funding for electric fencing and all the planting equipment and resources. The local community really need to gain a greater understanding of crop production and management. The balance between wildlife and humans is very fragile. Firewood is a huge problem and is very limited. People are having to walk further and further into the bush to find it and there are many elephants.