So this summer, I'm biking across North America to visit universities and inform admissions officers about the potential of African students from the village. And in September, I'm going to Chikweo and helping five of my former students apply to colleges in Malawi and abroad. For more information about this project, the students, and my route, visit my Facebook page: representthevillage .
What's the money for?
In order to apply to college, students need money for:
International English Language Test: $275
Travel and lodging in Lilongwe to take these tests: $15
Because these costs are so steep, I'm planning to help the two highest performing students apply to American universities. For the others, a Malawian university education can still educate them and lift them out of poverty.
One year at a Malawian university: ~$500
My goal is to raise $1500, enough money to send three students to college for a year. (As for funding for subsequent years, well, we'll figure that out when we get there. For now, let's get their foot in the door.)
100% of the money raised goes to my students.
What makes these students special?
These are high-achieving students in their own right, but their accomplishments are especially impressive given the obstacles they've had to overcome: poverty, disease, hunger, inadequate educational resources, and the pervasive cultural belief that school is a waste of time. If they've come this far in spite of all these factors, just imagine how far they could go if they were always well-fed, didn't have to worry about malaria or HIV, and had access to things like tutors, textbooks, and computers.
Why higher education?
A college education has the power to lift low-income Malawian students and their families entirely out of poverty. From there, they can use what they've learned to help address the issues in their home country — driving development from within.
Why North American universities?
Our universities shape tomorrow's leaders in international development. Including a member of the population these people are trying to help seems not just fair, but beneficial.
Imagine what one of these students could contribute to a class on international development or African studies. Or how they could change the perspective of their fellow students. Study abroad programs may expose American students to a different culture for a semester or a year, but what about four years of friendship with a person who grew up in a different world?
Diversity is a buzzword among American universities, but is it a reality? Not until we represent the village.
- Michael Pichler
- Sphagnum P.I.
- Lance Stevens
- Rachael "Skeeter" Hastings
- Chassi Tharrington
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