Growing the Link
- Starfish offers teachers support to develop their link. This includes visits to schools in the UK and Malawi, incorporating assemblies, classes, staff meetings and assistance in filling out the grant applications. Connecting Classrooms is the British Council grant available for schools in the UK and Malawi to fund a reciprocal visit trip. As part of this, every school must have at least the minimum level of the International School Award.
- We have tried to give some practical advice about starting the link and taking the link forward. This information is intended to assist you to develop your link.
- Whilst our schools linking scheme aims to go beyond charity to understanding of different cultures, the reality is that there are extreme inequalities between the average pupil in Malawi and the UK. We hope that schools in the UK will commit themselves to at least one fundraising event per year for their partner school which will go some way towards addressing this. We require a school to fundraise at least a minimum of £250 per year, which covers linking costs. Any money raised beyond this will be spent in your linked school.
- The schools linking programme is heavily subsidised.
- Part of the plan should be agreeing a specific item that the UK school can raise funds towards, to help the school in Malawi, and a method of fundraising for this. (Again, we can help with this.) Please allow Starfish Malawi to handle all donations, rather than attempting to transfer the money yourselves. If possible, use Gift Aid on donations, (adding an extra 25%). We will ensure that the item that you specified is actually delivered on the ground. Please ask for our Accountability procedure.
- Apply for a Connecting Classrooms grant from the British Council for teacher exchange visits after 6 months of linking. Starfish will assist.
- Think through what you hope to gain and give from the link, and how in a year’s time you might measure whether this has been successful or not.
Beyond the classroom - School Linking in the school community
The Malawi Adventure
"Until recently, Wendy worked as a classroom teacher at St. Mary the Virgin School in Hartfield. During her time there, the school embarked on a linking program through Starfish Malawi. Two teachers from the UK had visited Kajendere Schools and the head teacher, Samson Banda made the return visit to the UK in 2010. Samson stayed at the farm of Paul and Wendy Holmes for his first weekend, and a close bond was created between him and the family.
Samson was especially fond of Phil Wooller, Wendy's father, who told Samson many tales of his life growing up on a farm and stories from his experiences in WWII. Samson, being particularly interested in history, was enthralled, and the two have kept in close contact since with a regular exchange of letters.
It being the beginning of his time here in England, Paul and Wendy had the pleasure of sharing the joy of many of Samson’s ‘firsts’ e.g. holding ice in his hands, eating fish and chips and an ice-cream, seeing the sea – and horses (of which he was pretty scared!) Thus, a friendship was born......."
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