Alesi Saka, grandmother of 10-year-old Lunia Lekinala, adjusts the girl’s dress – a brand new one for the new school year. 

When 56 rolls of cloth arrived in Chigodi in central Malawi, exciting things began to happen

The timing was perfect, says Mututa Primary School head teacher Maxwell Kamchira. It was just in time for each child who needed new clothes to get them before the new school year.

Due to the poor farming season, many families couldn’t afford clothes for their children. Not even one school uniform, which they would wear to school every day.

Six primary school and two child care centers received the cloth. Parents, teachers, and children got involved to make sure every child who needed a school uniform could have one.

Each school employed tailors who came to the school to sew clothes for the children. Head teacher Maxwell said that was the way to monitor use of the cloth and to see that the new clothes were ready on time.  Parents were asked to contribute 500 Malawi kwacha, roughly $1, for a suit of clothes.

But what of those who couldn’t pay?

“All kids that cannot manage the fees will still be able to get the cloth,” Maxwell promised.  In gratitude to the people who donated the cloth, and World Vision who brought it, he says, no child would miss out on a new uniform if their parents could’t afford $1 for the tailor. The school committee would ensure the costs were covered.

Says Alesi Saki, a grandmother raising seven children, “We cannot afford to buy clothes for all the children and the dresses my two grandchildren have been given will ease pressure on me.” She admires the strong material they are made of.

“We will be using these dresses at school,” says her granddaughter Lunia, 10, proudly.

From Lunia and her grandmother, the chain of gratitude extends to Why Chapereka, the tailor who measured and made her dress.

“These pieces of cloth have given us business and we are happy that we will earn something,” he says.

The head teacher for Nsako Primary School, Peter Jonathan, monitored Why’s progress on the student’s school clothes. More than 400 out of 1,100 students at his school benefited from a gift of fabric. 

Photo©2015 World Vision, Charles Kabena

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