The Rosemary Pencil Foundation transforms the lives of children in Malawi, Zimbabwe and Zambia by providing them with scholarships and resources to attend secondary school, pursue higher education and vocational training.
We believe all children have the right to an education and so does our local partner, Children in the Wilderness. Although primary school education in these countries is free, secondary school requires tuition fees. Together we are building new beginnings for children and lasting change for their communities.
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 with five girls in Zambia, and currently support 14 at 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.