The Umbwi Secondary School

Overcoming poverty through providing education 

How can you help?

With a £7,500 (US $9,600) donation, INTO Giving is building a new dormitory for 240 secondary girls, whose present accommodation sees them living without running water for showers, long-drop cess pit toilets, sleeping four across two beds pushed together, and an unlit mile walk home from school to their hostel.

Each year the project will benefit about 240 girls of secondary school age who are at a government boarding school in Dedza District, Malawi. At present the girls occupy a dilapidated, overcrowded building one kilometre from the school campus. It has only 10 outside toilets, ten shower cubicles for using a bucket of water and four outside sinks with a water supply for washing clothes and general use.

 Many of the girls are from poor subsistence farming families and some receive a bursary from organisations such as the Norwich-Dedza Partnership to pay their school fees. The Partnership also provides funds for the purchase of some sanitary pads.

 The building will have disabled access and toilet and shower facilities that will benefit future students.

The project is to build girls’ dormitory on the school campus. The first phase will house 160 girls with 20 bedroom cubicles, each with 4 bunk beds and storage space, internal showers and toilets and clothes/general washing facilities.

 The £7500 from INTO Giving was received in Nov 2018 and transferred to Dedza to enable continuation of the construction that had already started using funds from the Norwich-Dedza Partnership and money raised by the school. Donations from other funders totalling £20,700 were received in March 2019.

 The progress on the building is shown in the photos that were taken during a visit in June 2019. The school reports that at present the roof has been completed, the concrete floor has been laid, the trunking for electrics is currently being installed and plastering will start this week. Completion is planned in time for the start on term in Sept.


Umbwi was originally a boy's school; in 1999, girls began attending it too. While there was a boys’ dormitory, girls have needed to live in an old hostel that was built to house migrant workers.  Today there are 240 girls and 300 boys.

The girls' hostel is overcrowded and verging on uninhabitable. Bunk beds are pulled into pairs and the girls sleep four across two mattresses. Mattresses and beds are in poor condition. There are four long-drop toilets and six that empty into a cess pit. The ten shower cubicles have no water supply. Girls draw a bucket of water from the sinks and take this to a cubicle to use for a shower wash. The girls can stay at the school to study until 8.30 in the evening, but then have to walk back to their hostel in the dark along an unlit dirt road.

INTO Giving is providing funding for a dormitory to be built on the school grounds. The new building will have two wings, each with partitioned areas with four beds and interior toilets and showers, including facilities for disabled students. The wings are joined by a covered area for washing and drying clothes, and there would be 16 interior toilets and showers.

Where is this project?

Project Photos

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