Mtendere Village, comprised of 16 homes that house 134 orphans, is located on the same grounds as Blessings Hospital in Malawi, Africa.  The mission of Mtendere is to empower children and families for a more hopeful and productive future. These children attend a local primary school during the day and receive after school tutoring at home. Previously, once the children reached the 9th grade, they left for boarding schools. This created struggles with providing continued spiritual support for these children, and some would return during Holidays with difficult circumstances due to their life choices while away in boarding school. For this reason, a Christian high school has now been built to allow these orphans an opportunity to continue their secondary education at their home. The primary support for Mtendere is through the 100X Foundation, based in Montgomery, AL, where many of its board members are friends of Sara Walker and the Pigg family. Therefore, Sara's brother, Michael Pigg, sought out an opportunity for the Sara Walker Foundation to get involved with helping these orphans.

Michael, currently employed as an elementary school principal, led a fact-finding trip with other education professionals to Mtendere Orphanage in June 2014.  During their 10-day trip, they were able to visit the local schools and meet with local leaders to gather information on how best to help the orphans at Mtendere. Since that inaugural trip, The Sara Walker Foundation has teamed with Lipscomb Missions to provide funding for annual education mission trips to Mtendere Orphanage. The goal of these trips is to aid the primary and secondary teachers with valuable tools to become effective educators, with an underlying focus on gaining souls for His kingdom. Lance High, a school principal in the Nashville area, led a team of 8 educators to Malawi in early June 2017. This team was comprised of a mix of educational backgrounds, from school administration to students in Lipscomb University's College of Education. While there, the primary school teachers were provided extensive education on "Interactive Read Alouds" as well as guided preparation and execution of these read alouds in the classroom. Several hours were spent reorganizing the primary school library, where the educators were able to find several mentor texts that could be used for interactive read alouds as well as books appropriate for various levels of students as they learn the English language.

The secondary school teachers were taken through training on guided notes, the Socratic Seminar, turn and talks, and just overall engagement strategies. The Malawi teachers were eager to implement these strategies the very next day,  stating "This was our best training ever."  After teacher training ended, the mission team was encouraged to see best practices being carried out through both the primary and secondary schools.

The Sara Walker Foundation is grateful to be able to support this endeavor and we are excited to see what God has in store for the orphans and teachers at Mtendere.

Be sure to click the photo gallery link in the sidebar to view photos of the 2017 trip.


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