Our Target: £100,000 Raised to Date...
Target Population: 3,167
Potential Beneficiaries: 1,403
DATUM FOUNDATION is proposing to build a new CREATIVE LEARNING CENTRE in the heart of the village of Chisala in Northern Malawi. A site has been identified that lies between the existing Primary School and the newly constructed Secondary School that will allow all children of Chisala and the surrounding region to access transformational education through play, creative arts, and music.
For the children of Chisala and the surrounding villages the nearest schools are 8km and 15km away. Children need to walk this distance every day. The new school aims to provide a safe, equal, and inclusive space for all children putting education at the heart of the village and children at the centre of learning.
When our funding target has been reached the project will be delivered over the following 12 months.
Arts education is often overlooked in South Africa, yet involvement with arts and culture is crucial to imagination, self-expression, and creativity in young people. Research shows that improving the quality of art education schools can lift the general standard of education and academic performance progresses significantly in schools where art is well taught. Enabling children to access arts education creates a positive, empowering learning environment making school a pleasant place where children really want to learn.
The Power of Play
Our new Play School will provide pre-school education for children between the ages of 3-5 years. Children will be able to learn the alphabet, shapes and colours and receive a nutritious meal. The rooms will be supervised and equipped with toys that are suitable for the children of this age. The Play school will have its own toilets and handwashing facilities and a secure external activity area. DATUM FOUNDATION has launched this project with an appeal for toys and are delighted to have received over a thousand new toys. DATUM will launch our 1000 TOYS APPEAL in the autumn of 2020 to add to this amazing donation.
Professor of Child Development and Trustee, Nicola Pitchford, has undertaken research on the importance of play. She says:
“In the early years, play is essential for developing the skills children need to succeed at school. When children are deprived of the opportunity to play, as is the case for many children in Malawi, this can impact adversely on their cognitive and emotional development, reducing their propensity to learn at school, which in turn limits their chances of leading a healthy and independent life. Playing with toys stimulates children’s imagination and creativity as children learn to make up stories and games. Handling and manipulating toys help to develop fine manual control, coordination, dexterity, and physical growth. Toys such as Lego support the acquisition of problem-solving skills and core cognitive competencies, such as focussed attention.”
The Creativity of Art
To ensure that every child has an opportunity to learn about, enjoy, and participate directly in the arts DATUM FOUNDATION is proposing to construct a dedicated Art Classroom. The classroom will be accessible to children from both the primary and secondary schools and will provide the space and materials for pupils to express themselves through drawing and painting in colour.
DATUM FOUNDATION will equip the room with chairs and desks and facilities for washing brushes. There will also be storeroom for tools and materials and a set of shelves with a collection of books that illustrate the history of both traditional and contemporary art. The new Art Classroom will give every child hands-on experience of art and hopefully create a school environment rich in arts, imagination, and creativity. DATUM also intend to launch an APPEAL to collect all the required tools including pencils, crayons, charcoal, and range of brushes. Materials such as watercolour and acrylic paints and paper will be purchased locally.
Performing Arts and Music
To complete the Creative Learning Centre DATUM FOUNDATION are planning to create an open space both internally and externally for teaching and performance of music, drama, and dance. Performing arts can play a significant role in helping children to develop their creative skills, enabling them to develop a creative mind, encourage imagination and support self-expression. Taking part in performing arts allows children to develop self confidence and belief in themselves helping them to learn many more skills that will equip them for life.
DATUM FOUNDATION’s supporter Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, winner of the classical artist award 2020, describes the benefits of music in education:
“Our family has been lucky enough to attend schools which have facilities of this kind, where staff and pupils can come together as a school community to celebrate achievement, to share music and the performing arts and to create a vital sense of unity. Without this important, shared place, the heart of a school community cannot be cemented. Having music at the heart of a school encourages academic achievement, a sense of self-respect and ambition. It fosters hard work and the ability to work as a team. We are passionately in favour of every school being able to provide this important facility for its staff and pupils.”