STEM Build Malawi Documentary

hey [Applause] malawi is in southeast africa it has a population of over 18 million and only 53 percent of its inhabitants that are below the poverty line although primary education is both free and compulsory many children leave school at the age of eight with more boys than girls continuing their studies rainbow hope school is one of the initiatives looking to improve the lives of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds as secondary school education is not free students must either privately fund themselves or find sponsors often these sponsors are unreliable or difficult to manage joseph one of the founders of rainbow hope is looking to streamline this system we came up with an idea to build a school whereby vulnerable children can come and learn we have children that are under bursary we have children that are under sponsorship and then we have children on safe sponsorship so those that are safe sponsorship and those that are sponsored on sponsorship program they fund the operation costs of the school this makes it sustainable and that really answers our aspiration that we should have greater education for all children regardless of their background the rainbow hope school is missing a vital part of its curriculum they don’t have a classroom that is dedicated to science technology engineering and maths nor the facilities that teach their students computer skills that could completely transform their career opportunities joseph has been in touch with katie from the uk she’s decided to head up a team of 25 women who will fundraise and help build a stem classroom at the school casey and the team are hoping that the stem classroom will help rainbow hope school achieve its goals in the community our desire is to provide a conducive environment for learning one and not only environment for learning but more the children or the child to be a useful citizen what we have noted is that most of our graduates do not make it to invest not because they haven’t done well but because private universities are expensive now most of them when they graduate from a sunday school like ours they will still remain at home because they haven’t added anything to their qualification so what we’re thinking is that if you can have additional part of the school as a college whereby you can be providing courses then once they graduate they can now start securing a good improvement the lab is one such addition that will give the students extra qualifications to give them the choice of better and wider ranging careers okay this facility of science labor is very important because uh in science there are some scientific researches some experiments and measurements which are involved in these science classes so it’s important to have vera butter because this laboratory is carrying some equipment and the measuring materials so that students can use and understand what’s there in it everything is ready the funds have been raised flights have been booked and construction is about to begin but just before it does the weather takes a turn for the worse cyclone eddie dropped huge amounts of rain as it smashed through mozambique towards zimbabwe and malawi relief agencies say there may never have been a disaster like this anywhere in the entire southern hemisphere survivors recall taking shelter with their kids we were in our house and then we heard the mountain exploding the water started flowing through the streets and we had to run away i saw a woman being hit by debris it’s not safe for people walking here the situation is very chaotic malawi’s government estimates almost eighty three thousand people

have been forced from their homes as the storm passes the local team begin work on site and although construction picks up later than expected the impact of cyclone ida hasn’t dampened their spirits back in the uk katie and the team are making their way to the airport we are on our way to the airport at the moment and is about to pick up kelly who is our other team leader we’ve not seen her in nearly a year the stem build malawi project is made up of women from all over the world some of the women know each other from previous projects but most of the team members are meeting for the first time i’ve got all the snacks how many snacks so many snacks they’re not my snacks but they are now the first leg of the journey sees the team touchdown in south africa they will then board a convicting flight to blantire guys home to work instead of malawi has made it to south africa after a long journey the team finally arrive in malawi and head to their hotel for a well-earned rest but they can’t relax for long once everyone’s arrived it’s time for day one on site today is our first day on site i’m just currently waiting for everyone to come to breakfast so we can then crack on and get back to the school we did a visit to the school yesterday and when we turned up the building looks significantly well progressed which is great for the school great program so it’s time for a big breakfast this morning get energy’s levels up and just try and enjoy the day with the local builders having started work on the new classrooms this will be the first time katie and the team see the progress made and the challenge that lies ahead this is day one on site we’re just taking some photos and we’re about to get stuck into them malawi’s working in safety laws differ to the practices that our team is used to so on this first day it is paramount that they are made aware of how to keep themselves and others safe while on site but it’s not just on-site safety that the team needs to worry about a lot of the team have no prior on-site experience and malawi is a much hotter climate than most of our team are used to today i’ve been doing some bricklaying and i’ve been doing carrying bricks with the whole team we’ve had like little chain going on so we can pass them between one another it is extremely hot but in general i’ve been just quite enjoying it so you just slightly forget about the heat i love it i think it’s a bit of a shock first day of construction but just getting into the flow of it now yeah i’m so tired again like uh i think yeah once we get some more trowels so this is for the uh benches for the science experiments and also for the sinks we’re working in the heat we’re uh all coming together and working well as a team the guys behind us you know bringing in bricks um you know when we’ve got a bit of downtime waiting for more water we’re finding other ways to keep ourselves busy i think we’ve had a couple of you know challenges along the way yeah but now we seem to be pulling together after a productive first day on site the team packs up and heads back to the hotel but the physical strain seems to have taken its toll on team leader katie so we’ve just finished our first day on site everyone did an amazing job just getting stuck in we did loads and loads of bricklaying looking at what we need to achieve by the end of tomorrow i am a little bit concerned fingers crossed by the end of tomorrow we’ll still be on track as the work picks up on day two the team are ready to get back on site and put their new skills to use yes i’m feeling really good i feel really prepared today compared to yesterday yes the team are from a variety of backgrounds and cultures from all over

the world spending this much time with each other means it’s important to get to know one another and learn their personal connections to the cause i’ve always been helping other people go on volunteering expeditions all over the world so it’s always been at the back of my mind so when this opportunity came about i definitely just yeah just went for it in 2013 that was my first visit to malawi and that was after i had helped raise some money to build a mary’s meals feeding station and me and one of my friends were really keen to come out and see the feeding station so uh we were 17 at the time when we came out to malawi that was my first ever trip and it was just it was just amazing and from them i think i had uh i had the bug so i’m i’m a transport engineer and on a daily basis we i work with lots of data processing lots of data and also building the models on computer so when we build the models we test the scheme so it made me realize to compare how the transportation system is here the roads and so there is a lot of work to do there is very minimal infrastructure it made me realize like mala we do actually need a lot of infrastructure to put in place before we do any modeling on any kind of work that involves modeling at the close of the second day it’s clear to see that what the team is doing at the school is already starting to have an impact on the students it’s great to have this group with of women in malawi to do the project of science laboratory i think this will be very important and it will encourage our learners especially girls to do science because they think science is only for for me this will help us to learn about science it’s very amazing because it’s my first time to see women walk like men the second day we’re getting some really good progress going now we are all working really really hard and a lot of the team are taking early nights now to recharge their energy ready for the next day it’s really exciting to see so much progress happening and the team is getting involved wherever they can we actually went to st michael’s girls school earlier today gemma hannah katie and myself and we did a careers talk which went really really well they received us with warmth and happiness just like all malawi welcomes the experience has just made me really appreciate um just how little rainbow hope have and just how much the classroom that we’re going to be providing them will really benefit them so i’m signing out now and i’m gonna go and get some well-earned sleep and i’ll see you again soon as the week goes on the team gets stuck into the build and are making good progress but not without some personal challenges so far i’ve done so good uh toilet wise but this morning i feel a bit funny so this is what day three so about to take one again because right now this morning tmi it was fireworks so for the work we have for the rest of the day it’s important i take one of these all right i thought it’s quite good to document that i don’t know why what i did obviously it’s a huge change in diet coming here and nobody is quite prepared for the effects that can have um on the tummy so it’s we’ve got myself and helen uh we’re two nurses on the trip and we’re here to help support everyone we’ve got plenty of pills and potions it’s important that we all know if anybody’s got any problems that we’re all here to talk and we’re all here for each other a team we’ve only known each other for a little over a week but it’s amazing how living in each other’s pockets for that week can really bring everyone together here i’m actually playing bricks helping paint put chairs and tables together so getting my hands dirty is definitely something i’m enjoying

on this my days in malawi so far have been quite hot but i feel very warm but i’ve enjoyed it it’s such a beautiful country and i’ve really enjoyed getting involved on site it’s such a new experience but it’s really exciting classes are inside the classroom so we had a little demo earlier from the trap at the end and now we’re all having to go ourselves um basically trying to fill in all of these holes and then give it a good buff and then fill them in again very interesting experience definitely haven’t done it before so it’s good to be here learning from the locals seeing that we can hopefully do half as good a job because the roof’s going up today the team has been working on the desks and the chairs so they’re being primed and painted we’re also doing general psychology up so actually there’s a lot of stuff that’s outside the building that can be trip hazards or um it’s just messing in the way for activities that we’ve got going on later on in the week so they’re doing a lot of muck shifting at the moment really putting some graft which is amazing especially in this week they’re doing a really great job as well as working on the build the team have plenty of extracurricular activities to busy themselves with the aim is to learn about the culture and what impact projects like stem build malawi can have on the community here the team today we’re going to visit the open arms orphanage material shop and buy some materials that go to a good cause give you an update later it was really nice actually to go to that environment because we were able to donate a lot of items one of our team members in particular heads she’s done a lot of knitting in her community teddies and jumpers and hats we also had a team member that was from our last trip who donated loads of ice a load of items that were able to bring out a gift to the orphanage um and it was really interesting to actually learn um about the orphanage and the fact that um they take uh you know children between the age of 0 and 3 and then they actually try and reintegrate them into their communities so that they’re still able to kind of grow up amongst relatives and learn about their local cultures and that was actually really quite fascinating to hear it was actually a really nice setting like it was quite sad seeing obviously the children but they all seemed very happy it was nice to be able to go in and kind of be a part of that and be able to give back to you know those particular young people and i think what the actual open arms are doing is actually very valid and although perhaps some of us experience those you know harder feelings you can kind of see they’re actually providing something really valuable to the community while the team are out in malawi they will not just be helping with the physical build but are also running stem workshops at rainbow hope school this is a great opportunity for the students to learn from the international team and gives them a good foundation for their work in the lab today we’ve got a few things going on there’s a workshop going on in one of the classrooms there with some of the girls we’ve got some painting of desks and chairs a group over here working on interior and then later on i’m going to do a first aid workshop it was a stem build workshop so we gave them different roles so one of them was an engineer one of them was a project manager one of them was a builder and it was to explain to them the different stages of a going from design to construction in a project and it’s been incredible i’ve been really shocked at how passionate they are like they are really really keen to learn and that’s something i wasn’t necessarily expecting and they are really you know competitive they’re smart they’re cheeky some of them were trying to cheat by going to the toilet and you know it was a lot of fun and i really loved working with them and i think if they had the opportunities people in developed countries had they’d achieved a lot today was my stem workshop and the title is harnessing electricity for communications it’s essentially showing kids how to make an analog telegraph which is one of the earliest forms of communication that uses like electricity the idea is that they build it themselves it’s not a competition who builds the finest thing it’s about understanding what they’re doing step by step and i think they’re very excited about it especially when they were testing the first part of the task which is making sure that their

circuit works and when the led lit up the genuine excitement and it was really nice that they understood the theory one kid today was like oh i’m rubbish at this and this she said oh i’m dumb i was like you’re not dumb in engineering engineering is about trying and a lot of times inventors like sam omos he tried several times before he arrived at the telegraph that works it’s the idea to keep trying and when you fail to learn from what went wrong in that situation and so in her particular case she wasn’t dumb the led wasn’t working and i told her you see you just insulted yourself for no reason and knocked your confidence a bit by saying you’re dumb when it had completely nothing to do with you it was a component that wasn’t working i’ve spoken to a few of the students just in passing saying hi asking them about what they’re doing in school and one question i’ve been asking them is what would you like to do so what what are your plans once you finish school and a lot of them want to go to college and you know become accountants or have careers and when i ask them about you know do they have a path to actually get to that they don’t necessarily that it’s not clear to them what they could do and i think having um more like access to think pads and computers and that will upskill them to actually get to where they want to go so it’s another stepping stone it was a unique opportunity for the kids to also see like different types of engineers and even though we do different things the idea of paying attention in science is that you get an idea of the various principles and and then you could choose whatever discipline you want to do later workshops gave us an opportunity to work with the kids one-on-one and the teachers as well really get in there and share what we know and it’s a quick way of sharing your passion whether it’s in the uk or here in malawi and when kids are able to engage practically in science technology engineering it makes it more real it makes it easier to understand at the end of week one the team are pleased with their progress although still running behind schedule they’ve used what extra time they could to make the rest of the build as quick as possible we are just coming up to the end of our last week on site not coming back to the site now till monday morning because we are behind schedule we’ve been trying to save time where we can so the team has been doing a lot of the interior decoration work and working on the benches and the desks which we were going to do at the end of the programme and we’ve also managed to get a little bit of plastering done but also catch up on some of the plumbing and the electrics which i can show you very very quickly so you can see here we’ve had the sockets installed we’ve started on a little bit of the plastering already it’s not stopping the other classroom we’ve managed to get some of the drainage in as well there is little the team can do now until the roof is on so with fingers crossed they hand the work over to the professionals hoping that by monday morning they can continue the build in time for the deadline on wednesday i am absolutely ecstatic with the way that this trip is going so far and the way that the team has come together the way that the build is shaping up to be such a fantastic classroom and as the weekend uh moves on i am really looking forward to the start of next week to really get stuck into more of the internal fit out and to bring it all together in the final week of the build so i’m actually going to get some well-earned sleep now because it’s been a somewhat exhausting week and i can’t wait to start another week very very soon over the weekend the team gets some well-earned rest and experience what fun activities malawi has to offer what are we doing we’re going to jump from a rock yep we’re gonna do some snowflakes fishing sundowners sunset all right

hi guys it’s hannah shenton here [Laughter] hi guys it’s hannah here reporting from stem build malawi diaries our week is drawing to a close and it is being absolutely fab um today we were off site we had a bit of down time half of the team went and did a hike and they the rest stayed had a bit more of a leisurely morning did a spot of shopping in the local village got some lovely crafts and then this afternoon we were all joined for lunch and then we went out on a boat and we did some snorkeling some rock jumping uh the rock jumping is something i did not take part in the snorkeling was really fun um had a wee beer as well it was really nice for the whole team to come together and have some chill out time so we haven’t been on site today i’ve been getting feedback from the site team say the roof’s gone on which is great just waiting on updates now tomorrow on the plastering to make sure you know we’ve tried to crawl back that time for monday to start painting with the team so fingers crossed fingers crossed it will be fine but still for me a worry as a team leader to uh consider for what’s gonna happen on monday maybe have a backup plan in mind the time for rest and relaxation is over as the sun rises on the start of the final week the team has a lot of work ahead of them with only three days to finish the project will they be able to pull it off the roof’s gone on as you can see which is great and looks brilliant but on the inside still needs a lot of work happening to it but probably at least most of the day behind at the moment and with only three days left on site it’s a little bit stressful to be honest i’m not sure if all the team recognized how far behind we are yet i’m trying to keep a cool head and just take everything in my stride as we go and just manage how people are what tasks people are working on and things like that so this morning some of the team have gone on one of their extracurricular activities we didn’t want to stop that because that’s part of the experience of being here too i’m feeling a little bit nervous um but at the same time i’m quite confident i reckon we’ll get it done like i’ve got a lot of faith in the team our local team as well they’re working hard what they’ve done is they’ve all moved into one side of the building so we can crack on with the other so we’ve got that really good rhythm we’re working each other now but i might not sleep as well tonight as i have been as the first day of week two comes to an end the team leaders are concerned about the progress the builders have made in the classroom i’ve been out just for a couple of hours doing a session with half of the team come back to sight and very minimal amount has been progressed all afternoon the our team have been asked to vacate this classroom whilst they work in it which they haven’t started to do which means we could have been doing a bit more we’re tidying off sort of these edges and a bit more tidying up the team next door meant to be finished at one o’clock it’s now gone it’s nearly five and they’ve still not finished the plastering as they committed to so some of the teams in there have finished and they’re on their platforms doing the top sections and it’s just been a battle to get them to move their platforms from that classroom into this classroom just ready raring to go for tomorrow morning so they can just crack on commitment from them they’ll be finished in here with their pla plastering at 12 which means that when we come back from lunch a lot of it will be dry so we can just crack on with the painting but i’m worried because they keep slipping as they’re being slipping that’s not going to be the case i’m still going to be painting wednesday morning wednesday’s our last day here so we wanted to hand over a completed classroom and now we’re going to see if the team are happy to do longer days so comment earlier and we’re already finishing a little bit late the sun’s going down already so we’ve just got a big push tomorrow really we hand over the classroom wednesday evening so we have very few days everywhere at the end of monday now so really we have one big full day to get this complete it is the penultimate day on site and the battle with the builders continues however it is also becoming clear that there is another big issue that the team faces and it may bring the entire construction

to a halt so last night before i left sites i spoke with a site foreman and we agreed that all of the platforms that the pastors have been using will be taken out of this classroom and then re-erected in the science classroom when i turned up this morning at seven some of the platforms had been taken down but then just laid down in pieces in the other classroom so they hadn’t been put up there was still work remaining to be done in that classroom which they still haven’t finished now we also found out yesterday we had to pay for some additional items and last night we were made aware it was about 1 200 pounds equivalent which we probably could have been able to manage with the final figure now has come in at two and a half thousand pounds which is obviously a significant increase percentage-wise it’s quite a considerable amount of our original budget as well what we’ve managed to do from this morning is have enough money to start the wiring which means that by tomorrow we’ll have lights and electricity to the building so we can set up the laptops with the keypods what we’re missing at the moment is the funding for the specific science taps basins and the fit out of the cupboards underneath them it’s just a shame really that we’re here now we’ve not really shared all the information yet with the team because we want to keep the morale high to have a really good last full day on site and it will just you know worry people or things like that unnecessarily some of the main problems we’ve faced is that we don’t have someone on site from the local team who is a central construction manager a person really driving the program forwards so we have had to come in fairly late in the day and really enforce some of those deadlines that we have with the program uh because currently without katie and myself really driving home that things need to be finished by tomorrow it is maybe a little bit more laid back than we would be used to on construction projects back in the uk we are behind on the program currently and uh with less than 24 hours to go for me it’s uh becoming quite a big concern it’s really important for us as team leaders to kind of ensure their team managed to keep going we have experienced some fatigue amongst the team there is illness in parts and i think that’s partly due to obviously combination of drugs and different food and bits and pieces but so we’re having to be quite aware of that and the heat but i think as long as we’re ensuring our team takes lots of breaks keeps hydrated um we’re gonna make this a long afternoon but good rest and recovery tonight and um hoping to come back in tomorrow morning and produce a final project for us as time ticks down the team’s morale is sinking when they realize just how much work is ahead of them thankfully they managed to enlist some helpers to give the final push that they needed this afternoon momentum has changed this morning i feel a bit down but touch and go but the school’s really got behind the team um classes are finished earlier today some of the students have come in they’ve helped us been washing off the floor getting all the dust out and they’ve been really going for it which has been really really super helpful and just brought the energy of the team right up we’ve been painting while we’ve got the lime on we’ve been painting and actually we’ve nearly finished that one classroom which this morning didn’t seem like it was gonna happen so it’s really really brought the energy back up and everyone’s feeling a lot more positive again which is which is really great because we still need that energy to finish in the morning so actually we’re gonna end the day on a high i think which this will be amazing for the team and getting to our last day tomorrow ready to hand it over in the afternoon it’s the final day on the project and after the boost of confidence from the students the team are raring to go for the last day on site this is everything that the team’s been working towards for the past 10 months so it’s a really exciting day and we can’t wait to hand over a finished classroom the deadline approaches and after a few

finishing touches the team are ready to present the completed classroom [Applause] after 10 months of planning and 14 days on site the team can see their hard work come to fruition it’s time for the team to leave the project has clearly had a massive impact on both students and the women involved with tearful eyes they say goodbye to their new friends and reflect on their experience it’s a very great opportunity now that the school is having everything otherwise we’re short with this type of a building here we are very grateful and we as teachers our work now will be super i just want to thank the team and all other well-wishers who have donated this room that you have made our work easier and this will benefit the whole village community and whole malawi [Applause] it’s been seven months since katie and the team left rainbow hope school the classrooms are up and running and students now have access to new science and it equipment this has opened up a number of learning opportunities for the students especially the young women as they are now able to get hands-on with experiments in the stem lab for us to have a facility like this one it’s a major achievement more special for the girl child most of the girls don’t like sciences but now because we have the equipment we have seen most of girls like the subject it’s also inspiring to see young ladies coming to build the facility that we have you know people were wondering what if they could make it but they did even women even girls can achieve as long as they have that energy and the stamina we have seen that even our girls here that have been inspired they’re also interested in working hard is still interested in science objects as well as working hard with their hands the classrooms are already having a positive impact on the community and are changing the way these young people learn science technology engineering and maths so

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