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Tulane sororities help build schoolhouse in Malawi

July 28, 2017 11:30 AM
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Rising second year students Sidney Shea (left) and Colette McGarvey (right) traveled to Nkoka, Malawi, this summer to help construct a school for local children. (Photo provided by Julia Hankins)

 

Over the past year and a half, Panhellenic sororities at Tulane University have worked to make education more accessible to children in Malawi in east Africa. In June, the students saw the fruit of their efforts when they traveled to the village of Nkoka to help build a school for local children.

Before their departure, the group raised more than $60,000 for the project, which was financed through various donations, by selling baked goods on campus and through fundraising events, like the Greek Groove dance competition.

Nkoka’s youth are currently only able to attend a school for first through fourth grades.

“For four hours every day, we were picking up shovels and axes, working together with community members.”

— Julia Hankins, assistant director of fraternity and sorority programs at Tulane University

“Once students complete the fourth grade, they have to walk to another school located an hour away in order to continue their education,” said Julia Hankins, assistant director of fraternity and sorority programs.

Hankins organized the trip through a partnership with the Circle of Sisterhood Foundation and buildOn, a nonprofit that bolsters children’s education in developing nations by providing the assistance needed to construct schools.

While they stayed with host families within the village, the students worked with locals to lay the groundwork for an additional school building that would provide adequate space for fifth- through eighth-grade classes.

“For four hours every day, we were picking up shovels and axes, working together with community members,” said Hankins.

The group chipped away at a rock bed embedded within the school’s foundation site, mixed and poured concrete, transported bricks and built a latrine for the structure.

Each day’s labor was followed by a Malawian cultural workshop.

Since the project won’t be completed until September, the group traveled to the nearby village of Jimbe to see a school that buildOn established in 2013.

The finished product has provided both local children and adults enrolled in literacy programs with the opportunity to continue their education.

“We were lucky to work with these organizations and to use our values of honor, truth, sisterhood, loyalty and love to pay it forward to children who don’t have the privileges that we do,” said Hankins.

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Rising senior Hannah Myers (left), Julia Hankins (center), assistant director of fraternity and sorority programs, and rising senior Carly Greenbaum (right) worked with locals to chip away at a rock bed embedded within the school’s foundation site. (Photo provided by Julia Hankins)