Getting Creative for Education

We can all remember moments in life when we experience something that takes our breath away and leaves us speechless….for me, most of these moments happen when I am in Malawi.

Receiving new children at Mtendere Village is always bittersweet.  When they arrive, I see eyes filled with vacancy, distrust, hurt, anger, anxiety and sadness.  Their only belongings are the tattered clothes on their backs and caked mud on their feet.  Then the transition begins.  They go from having almost nothing to eating three meals a day, having a house and bed, numerous clothing options, and the opportunity to attend school.

One of the first things we do when a school-aged child arrives at Mtendere is determine their education status.  The reality is that many of the children, even those aged 10-12, do not know the alphabet, and we often need to find creative ways to help them “catch up.”  Our staff at 100X and Mtendere Village is committed to working with each child to grow in knowledge just like we hope they will grow physically.

As you can probably imagine, just like any country, there is room for improvement in the educational system in Malawi.  In a school where there are 1,973 students registered, and over 75 students per teacher, the need to produce more teachers with higher education is an immense one.  Most classes meet outside, under a tree, with the chalkboard leaning up against it as their “classroom” setting.  The sight of these classes spread all around campus can be overwhelming.  All of our children attend local school and participate in after-school tutoring at Mtendere to help them reach their education goals.

One of the fun ways we encourage our children’s progression in academics and excitement about education is through the many “teams” that visit Mtendere Village each summer.  100X is proud to partner with Ball State University and Auburn University’s education programs to help ensure that our children have extra opportunities for learning.  These teams partake in classroom teaching, teacher workshops, and one-on-one tutoring, as well as some evaluation and research of the local school systems in Malawi.  Their passion and excitement is a great way to engage our children, and their love of learning is often contagious.

At 100X, we’re excited about creating a better environment for a more productive education for the Mtendere children, as well as for all kids and teachers of Malawi, and we are constantly working to leverage our resources to benefit the children under our care.  We all know the importance of school—that education lays a foundation that an individual can build on for the rest of his or her life—and every day we see our children progressing to a more hopeful future.

If you have questions about our education program in Malawi, you can email us at, or if you’d like to donate to our education fund, please click here.

Thanks so much for your support and interest in helping improve the education of young people in Malawi!

Dana Blanchard, Director of Operations for Malawi

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