Chicaia, a small village set in juxtaposition to the Manda Wilderness hub, Cobué, is situated along the beautiful lakeshore. The village shares its schools, health clinic and other prominent facilities with its neighboring village.
Chigoma, one of the largest villages in the region, with two functional school blocks, one built by the government and one with funding through MWCT, educates 623 young pupils, 323 girls and 300 boys. The school consists of grades one through seven with a total of eight teachers. Chigoma already had a good school building of two classrooms, but a very ambitious Village Committee decided that they needed an additional block of three classrooms to expand provision for its students. The foundations, walls and roofs have been completed to an extremely high standard (with double brick thickness - a first in the area!).
The school has also received 50 new desks to furnish their main block. The roof on Chigoma school is now finished and the village is waiting for ten bags of cement to fill in the gaps so the roof does not blow away during the rainy season. Additional bags of cement are also needed to lay the floor and plaster the walls both inside and out along with carpenter fees necessary to build shutters for the windows. For this project, the village has already promised to provide planks. The walls of the school were built with a double layer of bricks, which are very strong and are bound to last for many years to come.
Chissindo is a beautiful village nestled into the great Chissindo mountainside, the most remote within the conservation area and home to herds of elephants during the dry season. The community boasts a new primary school that replaced their reed hut school. They received cement and roofing materials from the Trust - an arduous task which broke three suspension leaves in the process of getting supplies there! The village was the first to receive a builders' training course, providing a new waterproof school while also teaching villagers a valuable trade.
Cobué, also known as Khango, is the most developed village in the Manda Wilderness region. A large Roman Catholic Church, complete with a new roof and fresh paint is situated in the heart of the town. Khango also boasts the most advanced health care facilities in the region, including the beautiful Maternity Clinic. The Girls Boarding House, located next to the secondary school, soon to be inaugurated, will house 40 of the most disadvantaged yet deserving young women from the region and give them an opportunity to access secondary education.
Litanda currently has a community constructed school, with simple provisional walls made of locally available materials. The classrooms gets quite windy when the breeze picks up! The provisional reed hut school has one teacher and serves grades one and two, for very young children who are not able to make the 30 minute walk to the nearby village of Mandambuzi. The village has requested support from the Trust to give young schoolchildren a more permanent building for their school. MWCT is eager to support a permanent school and will start to seek funding for them once definite plans have been confirmed.
Luiga is one of the smallest villages in the Manda Wilderness region. With an itinerant tradition from the Ngoni tribe, villagers spend their time between the village and their agricultural plots (called machambas in Mozambique), where they spend the rainy season tending their crops. Because of their unique lifestyle, opportunities for education in the village has been virtually non-existent.
Magachi, one of the most remote villages of the Manda Wilderness region, is a community with a history of being proactive. The primary school in Magachi is now up and running, with support from the Trust. Since their village is so remote, they have agreed to assist with the transport for the cement and provide accommodation and food for the builders to support further improvements on their school building. The village has also asked the government to send an additional teacher to the village so as to improve the scope of instruction. These changes will ensure the young pupils and teachers are able to work under the best possible conditions and will allow the local educational program to run smoothly.
The school in Mala is complete, beautifully painted with different shades of blue as chosen by the village. The school is also fully furnished and has recently received a second teacher, making a big difference in the quality of education and also providing relief to the single teacher who had over 100 eager students to cope with.
This is the largest of the schools that Manda Wilderness has helped a community to build, with two school blocks completed to a very high standard. The Governor of Niassa has also supported this school project by donating the iron sheets for the roof. Mandambuzi School was the first to receive school desks, making it one of the few schools in the district to possess such a luxury. Funding from a generous donor made plans for an additional block possible, launching the school as a full primary school up to grade seven and complete with English instruction. Latrines have been finished and the community has built very spacious teachers' houses with support of the Trust.
Work was recently carried out on the roof of this school to ensure it was water-tight and ready for the rainy season. The main building is fully completed and the building is in use. Two floors have been recently laid and the finalization on the final floor is in the works. It is now ready for doors, window shutters, and furniture.
Matepwe is a beautiful inland village located in the heart of the Manda Wilderness region. This remote and very sparsely populated village has had grand plans for its school. A primary school now exists, with three classrooms and an office. During the construction of the school, the Trust supported the village with cement, roofing materials and a Nkwichi trained carpenter to train the builders in the use of cement.
Two school blocks have been built with the support of the Manda Wilderness Community Trust, and due in part to a large donation from an Argentine film crew in 2009, which enabled the school to become a full primary school (up to grade seven). The buildings are operational and are being used by five classes of children, with two teachers. Wooden door and window shutters are completed and now all that remains is to paint the inside walls, provide furniture and finish sealing the gap between the roof and walls.
The Trust has enabled Mcondece to build a new school block, made up of two classrooms and an office. The building has been completed and has been plastered, the first building in the village to receive such a luxury! In early 2012, during a large storm, the school roof blew off, putting instruction in jeopardy. Classes continued even during the beginning of rainy season. Mcondece is one of the poorest and most remote villages in the area, and repair of the roof was the village's highest priority. Funds were raised from several generous donors, enabling the Trust to repair the school roof, ensuring it was well secured to weather many rainy season storms for years to come.
This community joined the Manda Wilderness Project in 2008; it is the largest of the area's villages, boasting a total student population of 650, with eight teachers and grades one through seven. The school committee is well organised and wasted no time waiting for support when the school only had two classrooms. Without delay, they built an extra block of three classrooms themselves, with the village chief funding and building the roof himself. MWCT would now like to support the community in plastering the new school block, as the community has promised to contribute sand, food and accommodation for the builders and volunteer labour to make this possible. The committees and community have recently formally requested further support to build an additional school block as the majority of the classrooms are full to the brim with enthusiastic school children.
The final work on the main structure - laying a concrete floor - has been completed in this school. The local carpenters have done a great job re-roofing the building and it is now watertight and wind resistant. Desks have been supplied to the school and the students are delighted with them. The building boasts a recent paint job in popular shades of blue. The government has recently sent additional teachers and the school now has a total of three instructors. The community has prepared for this by keeping up with the maintenance of two teachers' houses, set just behind the school building.
Utonga, a small picturesque village along the Lake Malawi shoreline, boasts an active netball team, productive fishing and a beautiful river with prosperous machambas (small agricultural plots) that produce large and healthy crops. The community is seeking support to build a bridge over the river, as it become nearly impassable during rainy season and young children find it impossible to attend school in Cobué due to swift currents and dangerous animals such as crocodiles and hippopotami.