Charitable Blackpool students strive to help schoolgirls in Malawi

The female pupils at Mteza school, Malawi were overjoyed to receive their new bags from Blackpool and Fylde college and the former Lytham sixth form pupils. 'Credit: Sarah Parsloe.
The female pupils at Mteza school, Malawi were overjoyed to receive their new bags from Blackpool and Fylde college and the former Lytham sixth form pupils. 'Credit: Sarah Parsloe.
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A generous initiative has been set up to provide girls in Malawi with essential items in 'girl bags.'

Pants, soap and washable pads were collected by kind-hearted staff and students at Blackpool and Fylde college and the former Lytham sixth form, and distributed in July between Malawian schoolgirls as part of an ongoing partnership with their chosen outreach charity African Vision Malawi.

The initiative has provided young women in the African country with a safe and dignified way to transport their monthly essentials to and from school, and the donated bags have ensured they no longer need to share a bag with their sisters.

Sarah Parsloe, who works at Blackpool and Fylde College and helps with the program, said: "We've had lots of cross-college support this year: fundraising, pants, surplus sport kit and vital school equipment.

"Lytham sixth form/B&FC also donated surplus boxes of pens and pencils, and polo shirts which are also out in Malawi and will be distributed in October during School Partnership Visits."

The female pupils at Mteza School in TA M’bangombe, Malawi were delighted to receive the bags from the Blackpool students, and were extremely pleased that they no longer had to carry their sanitary items to school in a plastic bag.

Wezie Gwaluka, education manager at African Vision Malawi said: "The bags will make a very big difference to the girls' education at Mteza.

"It was difficult for them to keep pants and pads at home, as many of them had no bags to keep their items in.

"Most of them used plastic bags or pieces of fabric to carry their books and items to school, so they weren't comfortable taking pads with them. They were shy about boys or male teachers noticing."

Wezie said that the donations of bags to the school would improve the girls' attendance levels, and providing Mteza pupils with bags had solved a "challenge" they faced daily.

The initiative is ongoing, and the Blackpool students are still collecting sanitary items and funds for materials for more bags, soap and washable pads. If you'd like to donate, please email sarahdp@hotmail.com for details.