Miss Byers has always had an interest in developing international links with schools across the globe.  She signed up with the British Council  who aims to establish links with schools in the developing world)  A school in Malawi, (Africa)  or to be exact Phembe Community Day Secondary school,  sent Miss Byers an email expressing an interest in establishing a link with St. Joseph’s College.  After a few emails were exchanged, both schools were very eager to start a link.  Miss Byers wanted her pupils to learn about the culture and school life in Africa and the Malawian students were very keen to find out about life in the Western World, but in particular about life in Belfast.

Miss Byers made an application to the British Council for a reciprocal grant which would provide money for a teacher to travel from Belfast to Malawi which in turn would lead to a visit to Belfast from one of the teachers in Malawi.  Miss Byers carried out a visit to Malawi in June 2011.  She had to take one flight to London, an 11 hour flight to Johannesburg in South Africa, and a further 2 and ½ hour flight to Malawi.  Once she arrived, she had to further travel 4 hours on a bus until she arrived in Phembe.

The photographs show that Miss Byers was very well looked after.  She stayed with the Principal of the school, along with his family.  She spent 5 days attending the school, chatting to students and telling them about life in Belfast.  Life in Malawi is very much different to life in Ireland.  There was no electricity, no running water and no ‘proper’ washing facilities.  Malawian children feel it is a privilege to attend school and are very keen to learn.  Their parents have to pay for their children to attend school, and many children miss out on this opportunity as their parents simply cannot afford it.

Miss Byers brought with her some school stationery, such as pens, pencils, maths equipment.  The students were absolutely thrilled with their new equipment.  St. Joseph’s College is currently preparing to welcome a visitor from Malawi in September 2012.  The entire school is looking forward to strengthening our relationships with Malawi.

See our Malawi Photo gallery

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