Blessings Harry: autobiography

My name is Blessings Harry and my dream has always been to go to university.

 

I am 26 years old. I am married and have one son. I am currently living in Ulongwe, a small town in Balaka. My home village is the next village along from Chikolongo, where the Mlambe School is, and is called Namonde. This is where I was born and where I was lucky enough to complete my primary education. I went to two different secondary schools; a boarding school in Zomba (two and a half hours from my home) and then I went to Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, where I stayed with my Aunt to complete my secondary education. Afterwards, as I could not go to University, I went to a private college to study accountancy with the support of my parents, but after a year I had to stop the course due to financial difficulties.

I still wanted to make something of myself, so I decided to apply to become a primary school teacher with the Government. Training lasted for two years of which one year was in the college campus and another one year in the field. After these two years of studying with the college we have to stay out waiting for the government to recruit us and the waiting period is about two years or more. In 2015, soon after finishing college studies is when the Mlambe Project took me on as a teacher until the government employed me at Mlambe School two years later.

I am still teaching within Mlambe school and living 15 km away from the school means I need to cycle an hour to and from the school every day. I must leave my home and family at 6am to get to school in time to prepare for my lessons. I am teaching Standard One. There are 183 students in my class. The Government says there should be no more than 60 in a class, but this is impossible in the rural villages as you cannot turn away a family that comes to register their child. I am based in the old government school building; the classroom is small and dark but the children are very happy to be in school and all are keen to learn, asking me: ‘Can I write and show you please teacher?’ Often I will hold my lessons outside of the classroom under a tree where it is brighter, but much hotter. The children love being outside though. The children range from 6 to 10 years of age, some having dropped out previously or not passed the year so must retake. Marking takes up a lot of my time.

My school children finish at 12.30pm and after lunch I stay in school to do my University studies. I normally stay until it gets dark at 5.30pm. My University studies are based online, which is how I can do this degree. However, the internet signal is not always so good and can increase the amount of time it takes to complete a task, download a document or resource or even the submitting of my assignments.

 

It is a struggle managing everything, but I know it will be worth it. Having my own business and being able to provide a good home for my son and family is what keeps me going; seeking solutions to any problems or difficulties that come my way and I am determined to make a success of this degree and my life.