Dorothy Frank is 19 years old. She is married and has a baby boy. Before attending the e-Learning Center, she had no prior knowledge of how to use a laptop or search for information. When Dorothy had a chance to join and register herself at the e-Learning Center, she was interested to read about and research soap-making. At the e-Learning Center, Dorothy could access a range of videos on soap-making, increasing her interest of the trade. The only challenge, for Dorothy, is that she does not have enough money to buy the ingredients to make her own or start her own business. Despite this challenge, Dorothy is determined to save money so she can eventually venture into the soap-making business. Since her first visit to the e-Learning Center, Dorothy’s most significant change is her increased knowledge on soap-making that will assist her in setting up her own soap-making business in the future. Dorothy further intends to do this with likeminded women in the village who desire to be financially independent, to improve socio-economic issues within their community.
Evance Waile is one of the most active young men in Mbando village. He is 32 years old, is married, and is the father of 4 children. Evance is the Chairperson of the youth group that has been instrumental in mobilizing community members to participate in many activities facilitated by Abundance. At the e-Learning Center, Evance has been interested in welding. After researching and learning new skills on the trade of welding, Evance joined another welder at the Mbando trading center in order to gain practical experience. Evance still continues to attend the e-Learning Center to improve his knowledge of the trade. Just like many people who have learned different skills through the e-Learning Center, Evance believes that financial support would make a difference to put their new knowledge and skills into practice. Such support would enable Evance to open his own welding shop and turn his new skills into a profitable career.
Dyson is aged 16 and is a first-year student at Chilimba Day Secondary School. Before attending the center, Dyson struggled with mathematics, particularly algebra. Through the RACHEL device, he was able to access tutorials freely and frequently on various mathematic equations. Dyson understood algebraic expressions he found difficult before, as they were made simple through the tutorials. This, according to Dyson, is the biggest milestone in his school career so far and hopes that the center will always be there to support future generations. He believes that many rural communities need this type of learning structure to enhance quality learning and empower young people to take their studies seriously. “Unfortunately”, he says, “there are not many organizations like Abundance that think about education for the rural masses as a tool for youth empowerment and improvement of local livelihoods”.
Biwel Biziweki is a senior member of the community. He is 50 years old, is married and is a father to 9 children (5 boys and 4 girls). Bambo Biziweki registered at the e-Learning Center because he was interested in the wealth of knowledge he could receive. Although most of the users at the e-Learning Center were school students, Bambo Biziweki did not feel discouraged to attend as he saw the e-Learning Center as an opportunity to take part and learn new skills online. He was interested in learning more about farming and animal raring, as well as vegetable and arable crop growing in both his garden and the dimba (Dimba is a place usually found in wetland or dambo used for vegetable growing or doing winter cropping and also for animal grazing).
Due to his large family, Biziweki wanted to provide them with enough food throughout the year. Learning new techniques such as organic manure application and proper land husbandry, Bambo Biziweki managed to harvest more from his land than ever before. Not only did his family have plenty to eat, but they also had leftover crops to sell, earning an income for him and his family. He plans to continue using the e-Learning Center and encourage friends to join so they can engage in more profitable ventures and uplift their families from persistent hunger. As the center is predominantly used by younger people, Bambo Biziweki wishes another room will be created to accommodate those who are older in age so they are not discouraged or feel shy using the new gadgets the e-Learning Center offers.
Mr. Mchilima is a 49-year-old community member in Mbando village. He is married with 4 children and is a primary school teacher at Chilimba Primary School. The e-Learning Center has enabled Mr. Mchilima to access and use a laptop for the first time. The center has provided the opportunity for Mr. Mchilima to gather a wide range of information, improve his reading and research skills, which have helped to improve the lessons he delivers to his class. His students have benefited from the knowledge Mr. Mchilima has gained, particularly from the RACHEL device as it contains a vast range of educational websites. The e-Learning Center has brought significant change to Mr. Mchilima’s life, improving his confidence as a teacher due to the wealth of information and knowledge gained from the center. Just like Bambo Biziweki, Mr. Mchilima suggests that a separate room for adults would be more suitable to access the materials.
Benadetta Phulusa is a hard-working student at the school. Her father encourages her to study hard so she can achieve great things in her future.
Benadetta is 16 years old and she has used the RACHEL device to access educational materials more often than most girls of her age due to her passion and commitment to her studies. At the e-Learning Center, Benadetta learned quickly how to type using a laptop but wishes there would be more practical lessons on typing for others. She has also taught her friends on how to use the laptops and the RACHEL device for searching different topics. Benadetta has read many books on different subjects and themes, continually adding to her knowledge.
She wishes the e-Learning Center had a printer so users could print handouts. This would encourage more people to attend as it would free up seating at the center. Benadetta has recently passed her O levels for 2020-2021, with 26 points, despite the low national pass mark of 41%, achieving her Malawi Schools Leaving Certificate (MSCE). The most significant change since attending the e-Learning Center was her ability to pass her O Levels. Benadetta hopes that other people will also benefit from the e-Learning Center if they put into practice the knowledge and skills they learn. She says the simple “how to do” video clips can make a difference in one’s life.