Early years education is a rarity in large swathes of rural Malawi. The brutal economics of survival mean many children are working in the tobacco fields from the age of five, not starting school until they are 10. By this age, it is too late, and their prospects are bleak.
With the support of the Ministries of Education, and Health, as well as the local communities themselves, JCT is changing this, in large part thanks to its feeding programme. The promise of a nutritional meal of soya porridge every day is enough to create an appetite for learning.
Early Childhood Development Centres are offering children, from the age of two, a solid foundation from which to move on to primary school. Once enrolled, thanks to the feeding programme, there is zero absenteeism.
Children who have benefitted from the ECD programme go on to perform well at primary school, producing young people who are able to read, write, and speak English, crucial in giving them positive options for a brighter, self-sustaining future. 90% of JCT students who go on to secondary school graduate with good grades. It is our hope that they go on to become positive, progressive leaders of their communities, even their nation.
All this is possible from the simple gift of soya flour, salt, and sugar.