History of School
Table of Contents
Embangweni School for the Hard of Hearing
Preschool 4 with Mr. M.B. Hara
|Located in the northern region of Malawi, the Embangweni School
for the Hard of Hearing is one of three such schools serving the needs of the hearing
impaired in Malawi. In 2003, it was serving over 120 students with 11teachers. While
only started in 1994, the school is rapidly growing and is setting standards for other
schools for the hearing impaired in Malawi. While it is officially a government
supported school, it would not exist without the tremendous aid and support of Marion
Medical Mission, other NGO's and many generous individual benefactors. The school
is trying to prepare its students to become self-supporting members of society, by using
"total communication" concepts for education as well as teaching trades that the
students can use later.
|The first school for the hearing impaired in Malawi was begun in
1968 in Blantyre. Unfortunately, because of the long distances and difficulties of
transportation, many children were not being served. A second school was opened in
1984, which was to serve children in the central and northern parts of the country; it
helped but did not solve the problems of transport.
At the urging of
Mr. M.B. Hara, an educator and former school headmaster, the Synod of Livingstonia
approved the idea of a third school for the hard of hearing at Embangweni, where a mission
station had been in existence since 1902. On October 10, 1994, the Embangweni
School for the Hard of Hearing began in borrowed buildings. There were 19 children
and 3 teachers: Mr. E.G. Mtonga, Headmaster; Mr. C.C. Chirambo and Mr. B. Mwamatope.
For more on the history of the school see the History
of Embangweni School for the Hard of Hearing.
First classroom and administration block
|Initial funding for permanent buildings was provided by Marion
Medical Mission, which has continued to support the school with teachers houses and
supplies. A hostel was built in 1995 and
classes began to be held there, using part of the building for classes and part for the
childrens housing. The first classroom
block was begun in January 1996 and the school was officially dedicated on September 26,
1996 with 37 students enrolled and a staff of 4 teachers. A primary classroom block was
funded in 1997 and built in 1999. It is used
for Standards 1,2 and 3; rooms not being used for classes are utilized for vocational arts
classes. Work on a Chapel funded by the New
Lebanon Presbyterian Church in Jasper, GA began in 2000.
It stands at the center of the school campus an appropriate placement since
the Christian faith is central to the program of the school.
| The educational focus of the Embangweni School for the Hard
of Hearing differs from the other schools for the deaf in Malawi. While the other
schools stress oral communication, the staff at Embangweni decided to use a Total
Communication approach. The children are encouraged and helped to develop oral
language for ease in communicating in the world at large, but they also are taught sign
language, speech reading and gestures. Education for each child uses any and all
tools available to help him or her learn. The staff have been aided in their
efforts by visits from speech therapists and special education teachers coming from the
U.S., the U.K., Canada and Ireland. In addition to their work with the
children, the staff members at Embangweni are engaged in developing a standardized sign
system for Malawi, which they hope to publish and spread to other areas of the country.
Standard 3 classroom
Mr. Ndole teaching Preschool One students
Students at Embangweni learn not only language and oral communication,
but are taught the standard academic curriculum. Students from Standard 1 on learn
English, both oral and signed. They study math and religion and learn to read,
write and understand the world they live in.
For more on the education philosophy of the
school see Education Philosophy of the School.
the ability to earn a living is so important after school leaving, the older students are
offered vocational skills training: woodworking, tin smithing, sewing, knitting, weaving,
etc. A very special extra-curricular activity at Embangweni is the hand bell
choir. This is the first time such a program had been attempted and it is a great
success, with the choir performing off-campus for celebrations and worship services.
Deaf Student learning Tinsmithing
Former Headmaster E.G. Mtonga
The vision for the Embangweni School for the Hard of Hearing is
expressed by former Headmaster Edward Mtonga: The institution expects to have
a high school where children will go for their education. (It expects to) intensify
technical work for self-employment, as lack of employment is a worldwide outcry.
With the help of God, Embangweni will be a model school for the NATION.
In 1999, the school was presented with a set of handbells. The students
have learned to play the handbells by following color coded music. They are also
learning to sing some simple songs. They amaze everyone that hears them.
|Due to the increase in number of students, construction of a
second hostel (dormitory) was begun in 2000. It was dedicated in 2001 and now houses
all of the boys. It is designed to hold 64 to 80 students.
Each school day begins with worship as the children, teachers and auxiliary staff
meet together for hymns, prayers and a short meditation. Every meeting begins and ends
with prayer. Truly, Christ is the Foundation of the Embangweni School for the Hard of