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TIKONDANE Education & Skills Centre

Classes Include:

(Chichewa & English)
Agriculture & Husbandry
Soap making
Knitting & Weaving
Arts & Crafts
Traditional Women's Dance
Health, including: AIDS awareness & prevention,
Family planning; Nutrition.

Education is TIKONDANE’s second nature. There are 80 workers (April 05), the majority of whom have never before been in employment. Thus they learn ‘on the job’, but also in courses. Those who are illiterate learn to read and write, those who can’t speak English go to English classes, those who have obtained some grade in school do courses to gain more. There are five people now registered for 3 subjects of the national GCE exams at the end of the year, two doing correspondence courses, and one lady in Teacher Training College.

People from outside are also invited to the classes. Goal-oriented training is the more attractive, so we are trying every avenue to start an income-generating activity. We began with the guesthouse, which needed a restaurant. We grow our own food in the garden, the orchard and in the field, as well as our own chickens, ducks, guinea fowl, rabbits and goats. We try to preserve food by making jam, marmalade, peanut butter and by drying sweet potato as well as other vegetables.

We make soap, weave bedspreads and stoles, knit and embroider, cut hair, mend bicycles, have a tinsmith, two carpenters and sewing machines. The latter are waiting for a number of workshops so we can start tailoring and also pottery to make an energy-saving stove for the villages among other things. We are also getting ready for welding. Everyone who has a skill has to have an apprentice, and lessons are given on various subjects to all staff, about once a month.

There are 36 villages in our catchment area and four representatives are attending our weekly Management Committee Meetings. Three specialists go out regularly, one for sensitization, e.g. "Why do so many children not go to school? No money? How about a cash crop?" And when the village expresses interest, we send an agricultural specialist.

There is also Mrs. Phiri who teaches Human Rights (including 'How to write a Will', so widows will not be robbed by the husband’s family, for instance), and helps WOMEN’S CLUBS to find their way.

All workers at Tikondane have to undertake some education. So the gardeners, for example, learn to read and write. Or if they have some years of schooling, to upgrade. Sister Elke is expected to study as well, and has a teacher lined up to improve her Chichewa. In the picture above, Michael, working in animal husbandry, is doing his homework. Below, the Hubbi or animal husbandry area.

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