In January 2006 The Rosemary Pencil Foundation sent its first six children to secondary school on its scholarship program. We pay for four years of tuition as well as books, uniforms and board. Our six scholarships recipients had worked hard and completed their primary school education with good grades but secondary schools in the area are fee-paying and there was no chance that the students could continue at school. The Rosemary Pencil Foundation made it possible for them to continue their education and go on to the equivalent of middle/high school.
Five of the children go to school in the Chintheche area. Tamala and Maria are both 15 years old and attend the Bandawe Girls Secondary School. This is a boarding school whose principal is Mrs. Fiddes A.P. Msowoya. Approximately 300 girls attend this school and under the tutelage of the headmistress the number of children who have been passing the end of school exams has risen from 11%, when she joined the school a few years ago, to a 77% pass rate this year. The girls wear school uniforms and subjects include biology, geography, English, lifeskills, agriculture and history. The girls are also encouraged to make decisions, understand how to budget, to feel a sense of empowerment and learn how to take care of themselves. In May 2006 The Rosemary Pencil Foundation President, Gillian Rose, visited the school and met with Mrs. Msowoya.
Three of our students attend Chifira Community Secondary School. This is a day school not far from Bandawe that is run by Peter Phiri. One of Mr. Phir’s most pressing needs is accommodation for his teachers as four male teachers currently share a very modest home a good 30 minutes walk from the school. His other real need is
bathrooms for the children to use. Roughly 150 students attend this school and there is one toilet. Some students walk up to three hours each morning to arrive here for the 7:30 a.m. start. There is no facility to offer a snack at lunch so children often arrive hungry and leave hungry. But they are at school and are pushed to complete their secondary school education and think about higher education. Our three students at Chifira are Promise, Jessie and Prince.