The Rosemary Pencil Foundation believes that all children have the right to an education. Working with our local partner, Children in the Wilderness, we help transform the lives of children in rural Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia by providing them with scholarships to attend secondary school and pursue higher education. Although primary school education in these countries is free, secondary school requires tuition fees.
Nearly all our students are orphans and without help would finish elementary school at age 13 or 14 and remain at home in the villages. This is particularly true for girls. Despite very challenging circumstances, these boys and girls have an incredible spirit and hope for the future.
We started our scholarship program in Malawi in 2006 and expanded to Zimbabwe with a ‘girls only’ initiative in 2011. In 2017 we started the program in Zambia, sending five girls to a secondary school in a rural area not far from Livingstone. Nearly 200 students have benefited from our program and the numbers keep growing. The Foundation covers the cost of tuition fees as well as school uniforms, shoes, when needed, additional books, sitting entrance exams and transportation to and from home for the holidays for those at boarding school.
In 2013 the Rosemary Pencil Foundation, in partnership with Worldreader, introduced e-readers to a girls boarding school in Malawi, the first in the country. These devices give students more than one hundred books by African, American and British authors to read as well as being able to access some of the Malawi secondary school curriculum on their kindles. In 2015, thanks to the gift from one individual donor, we were able to bring another shipment of e-readers to a second girls boarding school in Malawi.
As well as providing help to some students who have gone on to higher education, in 2016 we supported the launch of a print publication written by students, for students and their local communities.
In 2017 we partnered with US media company WGBH on an after school program called Design Squad Global. Design Squad is an Emmy Award winning television series on PBS. Local teachers in Malawi have now been trained on the curriculum that focuses on engineering and design. The fun-packed activities enforce critical thinking and problem solving as the kids invent and develop ideas and devices that help to improve their own lives. Our aim is to have this program operative in ten schools.