Malawi Through Our Eyes - Photography Exhibition
Thursday, August 11
The latest news about Frensham's partnership with MalawiEarlier this month, students held an exhibition of the photos they took on their most recent trip to Malawi. It was a wonderful celebration of Frensham's nine year partnership with Malawi and a great opportunity to hear about all that has been achieved.
The exhibition featured some stunning photography and also some memory boards from each person. I thought it might bring back some happy memories for OFs who have been part of the Malawi partnership in the past.
If you would like to keep up to date with ongoing work in Malawi, you can follow them on instagram: fhs_malawi
I have created a Malawi group for OFs to share their memories of their time in The Warm Heart of Africa.
We were delighted to see an article about the exhibition in The Farnham Herald:
Students from Frensham Heights School showed off photos and films they had taken at an exhibition about their work renovating a secondary school in Malawi.
The 22 students, aged between 15 and 17, spent two weeks in the African bush helping develop facilities at the remote Mikuyu senior school.
This is the second Malawi school Frensham Heights has supported over a nine-year ongoing partnership. Students raised funds from cake sales and other initiatives before the trip, and all monies from the sale of their framed exhibition photos will go towards essential materials for the Mikuyu school.
This trip takes the students out of their Surrey bubble in to a totally unknown environment where there are no real comforts and they are totally off grid.
By day, the students were involved in carpentry, painting and work on the school grounds. They also worked in a local orphanage. By night, the group slept under canvas and cooked their meals in two pans over an open fire. Their toilet was a hole in the ground.
Malawi is the fourth poorest country in the world with many people living on 50p per day. Only four out of five children go to primary school, with just one in five progressing to secondary.
Everyone involved in the partnership believes it is definitely not just about us helping the children and schools in Malawi; it's a two-way street. They help us as much as we help them.
They open their homes and their community and let us in. We build relationships that helps us grow and to become better people. They help us put things in perspective and appreciate what is really important.
All Saints Senior – the first school to receive help from Frensham Heights – has expanded from 100 pupils to 1000 over the past nine years and is now one of the top schools in Malawi.
Rick visited the students for part of the trip and said: "It was an amazing experience and for our students it is life-changing. They understand the impact they can have. It is a partnership which benefits all of us."
Now parents, staff and governors have joined forces to establish the Frensham Malawi Partnership, a charity to ensure the relationship between Frensham Heights and the schools in Malawi is maintained – with additional funding – and strengthened by daily communication through social media: fhs_malawi
Already, Farnham’s two Rotary Clubs have donated £1,000 each to the charity – with a further district grant of £2,000. This money is being used to install solar panels to provide electricity to the girls’ hostel at All Saints Senior.
Separately, money raised by Friends of Frensham has been used to deliver The Menstruation Project, helping local girls understand their monthly cycle and that it need not prevent them from going to school. Both All Saints and The Mikuyu Senior School have reported that since the initiative started, not a single girl has missed school because it was the wrong time of the month.
Parent and FMP vice-chair, Kristina Simmons, who joined Frensham staff and students on the trip this Summer, helped the students organise the exhibition fund-raiser. She praised them for their hard work.
"I am so utterly proud of every one of these students. They were a proper group looking after each other and working together. They had proper team spirit. I wish I could bottle up that energy and positivity.”
The next trip to Malawi is planned for 2021 and the exhibition Students at Frensham Heights hope that their exhibition will inspire others to fund raise and sign up for the next trip to Malawi in 2021.
Frensham has been supporting All Saint's school, which, thanks in part to support from Frensham, is now considered to be one of the top schools in Malawi and is very nearly self-sufficient.
On this year's trip, the 22 students aged between 15 and 17, spent two weeks in the African bush helping develop facilities at the remote Mikuyu Senior School which was recommended as a suitable new partner by the Headmaster at All Saints.
Students raised funds from cake sales and other initiatives before the trip, and all monies from the sale of their framed exhibition photos will go towards essential materials for the Mikuyu school.
By day, the students were involved in carpentry, painting and work on the school grounds. By night, the group slept under canvas and cooked their meals in two pans over an open fire. Their toilet was a hole in the ground.
The work at Mikuyu is already having an impact, with student numbers growing from 82 in July to 102 currently.
Students are hoping that their exhibition will inspire others to fund raise and sign up for the next trip to Malawi in 2021.