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Elmhurst School Staff visit Joshua Orphan and Community Care in Malawi

Posted on: 21 May 2019

As part of the school’s 150th Anniversary celebrations, teachers at Elmhurst School for Boys in South Croydon travelled to Malawi during the school holidays, to volunteer their support to the Joshua Orphan and Community Care (JOCC) organisation.

Staff, pupils and parents at Elmhurst School for Boys have been fundraising for the JOCC for the past 14 years, supporting the organisation to fund community-driven sustainable development projects, helping vulnerable children and their families, near the city of Blantyre in southern Malawi.

Head of French, Janie Hargreaves, and Alex Kasza-Martin, Year 2 Form Teacher, spent two weeks working directly alongside caregivers and children in two community-based childcare centres, set up by the JOCC and run by local volunteers. Their experiences in Malawi will also benefit Elmhurst School pupils, helping them to understand how their support is helping those less fortunate than themselves.

Elmhurst School’s Head Teacher, Tony Padfield, commented: "At Elmhurst, our vision is to prepare boys for the 21st century and an important part of this is developing our pupils’ deep understanding of themselves, others and the world around them. In sharing insight from their trip to Malawi with the rest of our school, Madame Hargreaves and Miss Kasza-Martin are enabling our pupils to better understand different cultures and environments, as well as the importance of charity organisations in supporting those in need.”

During their visit, Madame Hargreaves and Miss Kasza-Martin donated books and teaching resources funded by the Elmhurst School community and modelled effective teaching practice to the caregivers, helping them to provide creative, fun and engaging activities for the children in their care. They also supported the childcare centres to hand out the children’s daily meal, provided by the JOCC.

Miss Kasza-Martin said: “It was heart-breaking watching the children slowly eating their food; it was as if they didn’t want it to end because they knew they wouldn’t be eating until the next day - a complete contrast from our lunch hall at Elmhurst School.”

Child malnutrition is a major problem in Malawi, but the JOCC are helping to put an end to this by providing a daily nutritious meal for those attending its centres, as well as working on a long term solution to nourishing communities.

Miss Kasza-Martin went on to say: “The daily meal had such a momentous effect on the children, increasing their energy and concentration levels dramatically.”

Madame Hargreaves said: “We were shocked by the poverty that we saw in Malawi. Many of the children we worked with spent the week in exactly the same tattered clothes and travelled barefoot over long distances, to get to school.”

“Despite this, the children were always so grateful and happy to have the opportunity to learn and showed copious amounts of resilience. It is clear why people call Malawi the ‘Warm Heart of Africa.’”

Find out more about Elmhurst School for Boys.

Find out more about Joshua Orphan and Community Care in Malawi.

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