History of the Embangweni School for the Hard of Hearing
In 1994, there were some who wondered why a school
for deaf kids was needed in a place like Embangweni, which was
"very far". Deaf
kids surely couldn't learn much, could they? Fast forward to 2014 and the
Embangweni School for Hard of Hearing is celebrating 20 years of teaching
success. On October 3 the school hosted an anniversary celebration attended by
former teachers, some of the charter class students, heads of institutions,
village headmen and representatives from the CCAP Education Office. It was not
an anniversary of simply surviving for 20 years, but of continual growth and
success. See the section "Anniversary Year" for details.
Students & staff in 1997
From the charter class of 1994 onward, students consistently have done well
on the school leaving exam given to all Malawian students completing Primary
School. Many of the learners have gone to secondary school and a number have
completed Form 4. This is something not accomplished easily even by the
hearing students. Over the past 20 years, the school has touched and
improved the lives of many children and they in turn have shown their
communities that "deaf is not death. Disability is
|One of these, Fanny Singini, is a major success story. Fanny
completed primary school at the Embangweni School for the Hard of Hearing,
completed her secondary education at Robert Laws Secondary School and then
completed teacher training at Loudon TTC. She is currently employed at the Bandawe School for Deaf, teaching Standard 4. The deaf can't learn much?
Don't tell Fanny that. Other students, such as Frank and Levi, are planning
to return to secondary school and improve their test scores in order to move
on to advanced education. Levi's goal is to attend seminary and become a
pastor. Deaf kids can't learn. Really??? Other graduates from the Embangweni
School are also productive members of Malawian society. The girl Lonely
works as a carpenter at St. John of God in Mzuzu. Patrick also works as a
carpenter at the Bandawe School for Hard of Hearing. Mercy is employed at
the Embangweni School for Hard of Hearing as a tailor.
Faculty in 2013
|The teaching faculty has grown with the school and
in 2014 numbered 12 classroom teachers, a head teacher and a junior head
teacher. There are also three vocational education instructors, all of whom
are deaf. Even though the location is remote, conditions sometimes difficult
and the job certainly a challenge, teacher turnover is small. Many of the
teachers have been at the school for much of their teaching lives. A number
have made the effort to advance their education by taking college courses
during school breaks and a few are attending university full time but
planning to return to teach the deaf after obtaining a degree. Often special
bonds seem to be built between teacher and students, as was seen when Mr.
Mondwe, former teacher and interim head teacher at Embangweni, returned for
the 20th anniversary. Apparently oblivious to the important people and
activities going on, Mr. Mondwe could be seen surrounded by former students,
hands flying in happy conversation.
Secondary School for the Deaf - 2014
Mr. Mondwe and former students
A secondary school for the
deaf has been constructed on the school grounds. It
opened on March 2, 2015 with 20 students (10 boys, 10 girls) in Form 1.
While waiting for fully qualified teachers to be posted, four teachers at the
primary school for the deaf will share the teaching load at secondary while
still conducting their regular classes.