Nothing breaks my heart like a secondary school student failing to attend school because they lack tuition fees. I have been through it, I know how much it hurts.

In 2007, I was selected to Msalura Community Day Secondary School in the lakeshore district of Salima; by then, tuition was at K2,500 ($4) per term. My two elder brothers were already in Form four, about to complete their secondary school and were both supported by my mother.Running a small business of selling

Running a small business of selling second-hand clothes, she could not afford to pay for the three of us. , So we reached an agreement that I stay home that year and start school in 2008 when my two brothers are done with their studies.

I was not bitter.  I have known her to be a loving mother, and this was the only option she had. Nevertheless, it was hurtful to see my burning desire for school die just like that.

If it wasn’t for a humanitarian NGO and some well-wishers that came to my rescue, my future would predictably have had been either in jail or the grave having had tried to survive using unorthodox means.  My mother’s business, which I had hoped to rely on, collapsed even before my brothers finished Form four.

However, today, I don’t write to narrate my mixture of desperation, hope, confusion and then hope again. In writing, I write to speak to you about the plight of more than 20 secondary school students whom I know personally. They are all struggling to pay their tuition.  Some of them haven’t gone to school since the new school term opened on 3rd January 2017. These children, I must emphasise, are hardworking and passionate.

At my Diploma  graduation last year. 

I am currently based in Salima, working with Cornerstone Ministries Malawi, a local NGO that works at improving the lives of young people. With a reputation of helping youths, almost every week we receive parents and youths asking for school fees. The organisation I am working with has tried to help but the funds haven’t been that sufficient.

With this challenge, I took it upon myself to help those I could manage. I started by helping around 20 students apply for scholarships offered through Maphunziro265, an initiative by some well-meaning Malawians. Out of the 20, only one, Annetie Maganga was sponsored, leaving the other 19 still in need.

Still haunted by the remaining students, I personally committed to paying school fees for four students from my personal money that were for their September to December 2016 term. As for this term, I have only managed to pay for one student as I am also struggling to raise funds for my education because I am supposed to complete my Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Cultural Studies at Chancellor College come March.

As I write, I am sad that these capable young people are about to witness their dreams become nightmares because they have no money for tuition.

I am determined not to see these young people fail. It hurts me whenever I am talking to them, the way they outline their vision, and how it seems to fade.

With whatever amount you can choose to commit, it can make a difference. The tuition fees range from K 7,500 (eq. $10) per term in community day secondary schools and K45, 000 (eq. $60) per term in conventional secondary schools.

If you make a commitment to paying even for one term I’ll ensure that you get information on the student you have paid for and get a receipt from the school.

You can contact me on my mobiles +265 993 174 149 /+265 888 215 826, alternatively, you can email me or find me on Facebook; Samuel Malasa Banda.

Let us stand together and give these young people a chance at education.