Teaching and Loving those with Special Needs

10 November 2023

In June 2023 my friend and I made the long journey from Ontario Canada to Malawi Africa. We were hoping to bring what we have learned through our education and experience supporting people with special needs to the school in Kwanjana, hoping the teachers could use what we know to provide more and better education for the children with special needs in Kwanjana.

It was really encouraging to see the work they were already doing and I found that we were able to learn so much from them as well! We spent two months in Malawi, going to the For aChange school as often as we could, assisting the teachers in class by helping the kids with their letters and numbers, enjoying corner time with them and giving some special attention and time to those students who had a harder time concentrating and learning their lessons because of their special need. George, a university professor and volunteer at For a Change, had already done so much for the special needs class. But together with George and the teachers, we were able to bring the children with special needs into the classroom more often and to have a few methods of helping them to concentrate better in class and use their class time more effectively for learning.

All the teachers at For a Change had such a love for the children and so much enthusiasm and energy for teaching them. This was really encouraging for me to see. They knew each of the children and really cared about each of them learning well. Instead of always using ‘teatime’ to relax and chat, they often joined the children in their play using the time to bond further with the children and show love to each one. The children reflected this love and care they received by the joy they had in learning and the way they cared for each other and responded to the teachers.

What we saw at For a Change contrasted to what we saw at the local school when we visited there. The class sizes could reach up to 100 students in a small room with only one teacher, while in Kwanjana they preferred to keep the class under 30 students. The teachers at the local school weren’t able to spend the extra time explaining difficult concepts that were confusing to some students but instead only continued with their lesson plan. With the support they receive, For a Change is able to provide better buildings, desks and chairs for the classrooms, and more materials for teaching.

It was hard to see how little those in Kwanjana had, but I am so thankful for the changes For a Change has already been able to make there. The love that the whole team at For a Change has for the children and parents is seen so well through the time and care they give each day. The number of sponsors for the children keeps growing and through the donations given, For a Change has been able to expand and build a primary school.But not only are they able to provide better education and good nutrition, they also have the opportunity to teach the gospel story to so many people and tell them of the love of Christ!