Jean Rose Mbilizi Foundation Programs
1. The JRMF Scholarship Fund
The Jean Rose Mbilizi Foundation will provide tuition assistance to vulnerable girls especially AIDS orphans, children with disabilities, and teen age mothers in Chiradzulu District. Scholarships will be provided to children who attend either government or private schools at both the primary and secondary school levels. Since primary education is free in Malawi, scholarships to primary school girls will be in form of uniforms, learning materials, and school feeding. Scholarships at the secondary level will include tuition, books and learning materials, and boarding expenses. The Jean Rose Mbilizi Foundation will pay tuition directly to the schools where the children attend to avoid duplication of efforts by other organizations. Applications for scholarships will be thoroughly screened by the JRMF Board of Directors and village committees led by Traditional Authorities. The number of scholarships given will depend on the amount of funds raised by the foundation. The foundation will also supply food stuffs to the school feeding programs at the primary and pre-school levels in the District.
2. The JRMF Girl Empower Project
A major component of the Jean Rose Mbilizi Foundation is to help young girls that drop out of school, due to teen age pregnancy, to re-enter the school system or transition to adulthood by developing life skills. The JRMF wants to provide skill-based training and micro-credit to girls for their economic empowerment. Based on a needs assessment conducted by the JRMF in Chiradzulu District most out-of-school girls want assistance to develop life skills such as tailoring, animal farming, vegetable farming, trading, brick making and other desired skills. The JRMF intends to build a vocational training center in Chiradzulu District which will have equipment and instructors of the various trades. Girls graduating from this program will be given a small loan and equipment to start their own business. The foundation will help girls and teenage mothers who want to go back to school with the necessary support they need to balance motherhood and educational demands by providing child care, school fees, and other basic needs.
Site for the Jean Rose Academy for Girls in Chiradzulu
3. The Jean Rose Academy for Girls
The long term goal of the JRMF is to establish an academy for girls in the rural District of Chiradzulu, where Jean Rose Mbilizi grew up, which will be a unique and innovative college preparatory school, with well equipped facilities and excellent teacher support to develop the full potential of girls from disadvantaged backgrounds who aspire to acquire higher education and professional training. The Jean Rose Academy community will be a family of girls, teachers, and parents focused on preparing every child for post-secondary education. At this academy, girls will be prepared for leadership of their families, communities, nation, and global engagement. The school will provide a safe and nurturing environment that fosters the development of high self-esteem and confidence. The academy will challenge and inspire girls to enter non-traditional occupations in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. It will create critical thinkers who will possess skills of analysis and problem solving necessary for success in leadership positions.
Core Values of the Jean Rose Academy for Girls
The Jean Rose Academy shall promote the cultivation of wisdom, good judgment, and understanding among girls. The academy will provide a solid foundation for girls to develop a strong will to succeed and accomplish excellence against the backdrop of hardship, poverty, and loss of parents due to HIV/AIDS. It will encourage students to live in harmony and peace with each other and the natural environment, showing kindness and love towards one another. The Jean-Rose Academy will be a place where academic excellence is a virtue and unlimited learning possibilities are offered.
Curriculum at the Jean-Rose Academy for Girls
The curriculum at the Jean Rose Academy will focus on leadership development and college preparation. To this end, emphasis will be placed on academic advising, career planning, and individualized counseling. Students will be exposed to role models and be taken on sponsored educational exchange trips. In addition, the Malawi Government core curriculum will be followed and students will take national examinations. Studies in the senior years will include pre-law, pre-medicine, women’s studies, leadership development, and STEM skills development. The academy will maintain high academic standards and ensure that more girls transition to post-secondary education institutions particularly in STEM fields.
Why Focus on Secondary Education?
School buildings in Chiradzulu District are in a state of despair. Even the most motivated girls are likely to drop out of school because of poor learning facilities. Chiradzulu Secondary School, the only government boarding secondary school in Chiradzulu, is falling apart. Security for girls is non-existent as the school is not fenced. Efforts by the JRF to improve girl's education have to be complimented
The pass rate for girls in national examinations in Malawi is lower than that of boys. As a result, fewer girls are eligible for post-secondary education. It is important to increase the quality of schools so girls that they stand a real chance at being selected to enter colleges and universities.
Chiradzulu Secondary School is Poorly Maintained
Moreover, culturally most families in Malawi chose to educate boys than girls who, they presume, will marry early and be supported by their husbands. The JRMF wants to expand educational opportunities for underprivileged girls as a matter of social justice and move towards gender equality. The construction of the Jean Rose Academy for Girls will go a long way in closing an existing gap in education provision for girls.
Secondary education is a vital tool of social transformation, as it bridges and connects young women and men to better futures, either in higher education or the workforce. Yet secondary education remains out of reach for millions of girls in Malawi. Research indicates a strong relationship between women’s education and development. Girls with higher levels of education marry later in life, have smaller families, survive childbirth at higher rates, experience reduced incidences of HIV/AIDs, have children more likely to survive to age five, earn more, and thus contribute to higher rates of economic growth at the national level.
However, only 13% of secondary school age children actually attend secondary school. This is partly due to expensive school fees, but is equally an issue of access. Secondary school fees vary greatly, ranging from as low as $45 per year at local community day secondary schools, to $1,500 per year at private secondary boarding schools. School fees pose a huge burden to poor families in Malawi who struggle to raise enough money to send their children to school at these rates. The JRMF will lift the burden of school fees for underprivileged girls in rural Malawi.
Poor living conditions in Chiradzulu