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In February of this year, a generous individual donated an old Google Nexus 6p to Success in Kapiri that had been gathering dust on his shelf. The phone got to Malawi in April, and was given to Harry Nkhoma, Success Primary's director.
That single donation has dramatically changed the way our organization operates. It has saved countless hours and significantly reduced our reporting costs.
Before the phone, our reporting process was extremely cumbersome. For Harry to send receipts and reports, he had to travel to Mchinji "boma", the district capital. To get to the boma, first he had to ride for about an hour in a passenger car packed with up to 10 people--two in the driver seat, two in the passenger seat, five in the back, and sometimes one in the trunk (not counting babies mixed in there)--then wait to transfer to a minibus for another 45 minute ride to the boma. When he finally got to the boma he had to pay for someone to scan and email the documents to us here in the USA, then trek back home. And half the time the attachment didn't come through or our virus scan quarantined it, and we had to do the process all over again.
Now Harry snaps a picture of the receipt with the phone and sends it with WhatsApp. No uncomfortable, expensive public transportation rides. Just the minimal cost for pay-as-you-go internet and phone charging. And when a receipt isn't clear, instead of re-scanning, he can just take the picture again or get a new copy of the receipt.
Photos were even more of a challenge before the phone. Harry had to hire photographers to take progress pictures, which meant schedules had to align perfectly (a challenge anywhere, let alone rural Malawi!) and we had to spend limited resources not on education but on administrative and fundraising necessities. Then Harry had to wait while the photographer took his SD card to Lilongwe, printed the pictures, and returned to Kapiri. Then Harry had to trek back to the boma to scan and send the pictures. And with all that printing and scanning, the quality degraded pretty significantly.
Now Harry brings his phone to school and takes pictures on his own. And the quality is wonderful.
We'd like to get smartphones in the hands of all of our teachers so they can take pictures throughout the day, submit their reports on their own, and access teaching and learning materials in the classroom.
With the new iPhone and Pixel coming out, it's a safe bet that some of you are going to be upgrading your hardware pretty soon and may want to think about donating your old phone. And some of you may have something from the past five years or so sitting in one of your dresser drawers. We don't need the latest and greatest devices--we just need quality, unlocked phones that can take pictures, have 4G, and can take foreign sim cards. Your donation is tax deductible and will go a long way to improving Success.
We will cover your shipping costs, so all you have to do is print out a shipping label, get a padded envelope, and bring it to the post office.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or send us a message on Facebook or Twitter, to find out how you can donate.
Year One is in the books, and Year 2 starts on Monday with a new Standard 1 class and Success's first Standard 3 class.
Success will be saying goodbye to Mr. Aaron Nkhoma, who has received a posting at a government school in Kasungu after volunteering for year with Success. The school welcomes two new qualified teachers--Gift Gostind and Chisomo Phiri.
Iron sheets are going up to provide shelter during the coming rainy season on Success's new school block, where our first Standard 3 class will be learning all year!
School Block 2 is fully funded, and progress continues nicely. Success will be expanding to Standard 3 this year, and welcoming a new class for Standard 1.
Check out this video of Yamike Mwale, a Standard 2 (second grade) student showing off some of her English skills, including some songs.
Hear from Clara Phiri why she travels several kilometers every day to bring her daughter Jacqueline to Success Primary School.
Check out the satellite image of the school now available on Google maps!