During a volunteering trip to Tanzania with READ International I was part of a team which distributed books to schools. We also renovated a library at Kilakala Secondary School; an all girl’s boarding school in. We were pleased to see that each student had been provided with their own mosquito net to cover their bed. During the renovation we asked the girls to take part in the competition and they were very enthusiastic about the opportunity. We found out that the School had a Malaria Club, so we sat down with the student members and, although they were shy at first, they soon became more confident and a few days later the word of the competition had spread around the School and entries flooded in from all age groups. We received entries that were really informative and in some cases shocking. The young girls have experienced malaria first hand and write about it so casually that reading about the reality of it was upsetting. The essays showed their knowledge of Malaria, including statistics and data, showing the success of the Malaria Club. Some of the entries included drawings and animations which the students enjoyed producing. They loved having a chance to draw and express themselves in a way that they usually do not have the opportunity to do. The students put so much effort into the competition and presented their entries proudly with beautiful handwriting; this was a testament to their commitment and dedication to their studies. Overall, the content was well written and I enjoyed having a chance to read some of the students’ work and see the quality of their English writing. For us at READ the competition allowed us to be more involved with the students and gave us an insight into their abilities. The students had a great knowledge of Malaria which taught me a thing or two!
The competition touches on a really important issue in Africa and giving the students an opportunity to write about it helped them to remember the importance of prevention.