Why Focus on Girls?
Inequality immobilizes the progress of humanity by
placing the weight of the world on girls' shoulders.
With an education girls can lift the world, and with
their hands transform it into something beautiful.
Devaluation of Girls & Costly Education
The majority of girls drop out of school after receiving free primary education. They are devalued and deemed unworthy of financial support because of gender-bias. With 50.7% of Malawians living below the poverty level, education fails to be seen as a priority.
Family Poverty Interferes with Education
Girls lucky enough to avoid becoming orphans are expected to aid their family with childcare, food gathering, and household chores. With 80% of Malawians living in rural areas and 90% relying on agriculture for their livelihood, families cannot afford to consider future potential of these girls when short-term survival is at risk.
Vulnerable, Discriminated, & Exploited
Most girls experience sexual harassment and assault from male peers and teachers by as early as Grade 5. Cultural practices often push girls into early, isolated, and abusive marriages, followed by complicated childbearing and a vulnerability to illness—especially HIV/AIDS. Ultimately, the cycle of poverty is perpetuated down each generation.
The APU Malawi Education Foundation is a foundation committed to supporting the operation and construction of Atsikana Pa Ulendo Girls Education Project located in rural Malawi. This school, founded in 2006 by Canadian teacher Christie Johnson, and Malawian teacher Memory Mdyetseni, is an all girls secondary school that provides high quality education to 360 students, most of whom are on full scholarship. The Atsikana Pa Ulendo Malawi Education Foundation (located in Canada) works in collaboration with the APU Malawi Trust (located in Malawi) to create Operation and Construction Budgets. Our Program Definition is a collaborative effort with our Malawian partners and is a dynamic document that is updated on a yearly basis. There is an Operating Agreement in place that is signed by both partners.
Central to the vision of Atsikana Pa Ulendo (Girls On The Move) Secondary School in Malawi is the goal of economic sustainability. In the long term, APU needs to be able to operate independently, without requiring funding from elsewhere.
The Atsikana Pa Ulendo (Girls On The Move) Malawi Education Foundation was founded in 2009 as a society in BC whose purpose, as defined in our Constitution, is:
- To advance education in Malawi through the provision of scholarships.
- To advance education in Malawi through the construction and operation of schools, including the provision of uniforms, dormitories, food, clean water and electricity.
Self-Sufficiency through Quality Education
Atsikana Pa Ulendo (APU) is dedicated to helping young Malawian women achieve self-sufficiency through education. Our mission is to provide high quality education to girls from the rural areas of Malawi who would be otherwise unable to continue with their education beyond primary school, due to a lack of financial support.
The Seed of Educators from Canada & Malawi
This is a grassroots organization co-founded by Christie Johnson, a Canadian teacher, and Memory Chazeza, a Malawian teacher who have been working towards this goal since they met in the summer of 2000. Together, with their supporters in Malawi and in Canada, they are making this dream real, empowering their students to see that they too can have dreams and live to see their dreams come true.
Freedom & Empowerment through Education
As educators, Christie and Memory believe that education is the key to giving girls a choice in the lives that they lead. It gives them a voice to share their dreams with their communities. It is their voice that will give them the power they need to transform their lives and the lives of their future families.