Etchingham Church of England Primary School is linked with Thasa School, Kasungu District, Malawi. The link has been facilitated by the charitable organisation ‘Starfish Malawi’. The aim of the link is not only charitable but it is also about global education:
‘To motivate our pupils’ commitment to a fairer, more sustainable world.’
The Department for International Development (DIFD) supports partnerships that promote global education through the curriculum. They provide guidance for teachers and grants for reciprocal visits. We obtained just such a grant from the British Council on several occassions which has allowed staff from Etchingham to visit Malawi and for the Headteacher of Thasa School, Mr Blessings Zulu, to visit Etchingham and the UK. These visits have allowed us to learn from each other and for pupils from both Schools to learn about each other's education, daily lives and culture.
A study by NFER on behalf of DIFD has shown that involvement in the Global Schools Partnership Programme has a significant positive effect on the awareness, attitudes and responses of pupils about global issues.
It is our intention that through this link we will ‘open the eyes’ of our pupils in an area of the country where there is little ethnic diversity. Development of the link with Thasa School is part of the School Development Plan and part of the Christian ethos of our school.
We believe that Reciprocal visits are a very important aspect of the partnership; therefore we will be looking for opportunities and funding for further visits to strengthen the links between our schools.
Once you see the conditions in which the children of Malawi learn, you cannot help but want to improve the facilities for them. Therefore, we do try to raise some money each year through fund-raising so that we may send writing equipment, books and paper to Thasa School in a container. We recently (2017) were able to send a container of resources to Thasa for the benefit of pupils and staff.
If you would like to find out more about the work of Starfish Malawi or would like to look at some educational resources, follow the links below: