Some groups of activists of the “I DREAM” movement in Malawi have mobilised to launch courses to learn English. This move has been under way since July.
In Malawian schools, students learn in Chicewa, the local language, and only those who have the possibility to go to secondary school have the opportunity of learning English.
Major publications, professional books and daily newspapers are usually in English, as are many public events.
Hence, not understanding or speaking English prevents people from deepening their knowledge and on many occasions, hinders proper communication.
The activists’ desire to learn this language arises from a decision to enhance training possibilities and from their aspirations to communicate with the many volunteers coming from Europe to Malawi to support the DREAM programme, without needing to resort to mediation by translators.
The teachers have been chosen from among members of the same movement, which is joined by people from all social strata, including these teachers who have offered to make themselves available a couple of afternoons a week.
In the first lesson, the teachers proposed an initial assessment to determine the level of knowledge of the language of each student; they then accordingly divided the participants in beginner and intermediate classes.
The lessons take place two afternoons a week, sometimes in the DREAM centre, at the end of the working day, or else, as happens in Mtenga Wa Ntenga (Lilongwe) at the area school, which has made two classrooms available.
This is yet another precious fruit of the treatment and support offered in DREAM centres: many patients have started to make plans for their future.
The desire to grow, to learn new things and to communicate with others is a significant sign of joy, hope and of renewed life.
The English school of Balaka
The English school of Mtenga Wa Ntenga (Lilongwe)
An exercise in class: “Writing a letter to a friend”
To start this letter, how are you? I am fine. I am writing you this letter to tell you my story. It was on 30 January 2006, when I first heard mention of the Community of Sant’Egidio. I did the HIV test at the hospital of Mponela because I was sick. Then on 31 January I went to the DREAM centre of Mtenga Wa Ntenga. I started treatment and I no longer felt alone, never again. Now I am a healthy woman and the mother of four children. I am raising my children well. I have seen that my future will be beautiful and rich and DREAM will be of great help to me. I thank DREAM because it prolonged my life. May God bless DREAM.”