Gillian Rose, Founder and President of the Rosemary Pencil Foundation, and a long-standing supporter of CITW Malawi, recently concluded her annual visit to Malawi. Gillian’s steadfast belief that all children have the right to an education inspired her to found the Rosemary Pencil Foundation in 2005, and she has been working tirelessly alongside CITW (Children in the Wilderness) to improve the educational prospects and make a meaningful difference in the lives of underprivileged children across southern Africa ever since.
The Rosemary Pencil Foundation primarily works to transform and enrich the lives of children living in rural parts of Malawi and Zimbabwe, by providing them with access to secondary and tertiary education. The scholarship programmes are thoughtfully designed and cover a wide range of costs including tuition fees, entrance exam fees, transportation, as well as the cost of school uniforms, shoes and additional books when needed. The foundation also focuses on other initiatives that include the implementation of ICT and e-learning facilities in rural schools, as well as training in various fields such as media, design, teaching and writing.
In 2006, Gillian partnered with CITW and launched her first scholarship programme in Malawi, where she identified and sponsored the education of select children who needed help completing their education. To date, she has initiated and supported an array of projects that have significantly helped a large number of children from across Malawi, to secure a brighter future. Followed by the launch of her scholarship programme, Gillian initiated the Kindle e-readers project which involved the provision of e-libraries to secondary schools. Through these Kindle projects Gillian has provided the students of Namalomba Secondary School in Liwonde, and those of Bandawe Secondary School in Chintheche, with 50 e-readers, each loaded with more than 100 text books and related reading books. Gillian also facilitated the formation of a Publication Club at CITW, where she provided 40 YES Club members with core training in media and writing. The club now publishes quarterly newsletters while continually undergoing capacity-building training every six months. A more recent project undertaken by Gillian with the support of Design Squad Global, USA included the formation of a Design and Invention Club for CITW’s Eco Club members, where she provided training to 10 Eco Club teachers, which in turn will enable them to coach children to think innovatively and come up with creative solutions and inventions.
During her visit this year, Gillian had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with some of the students that have benefitted and continue to benefit from her ongoing projects and programmes. On her visit to Chintheche, she engaged in a library session with a group of 30 girls from Bandawe Secondary School, where she was able to observe them using the e-readers and learning from the wide array of books, as well as extra-curricular add-ons such as novels, games and atlases which are available through the devices. Gillian was also able to meet with some of the students of the scholarship programme at Chintheche, and she was delighted to learn that several of these students are now in college. Gillian also conducted a meeting with the CITW editorial team where they discussed a range of important topics and shared an interesting mix of stories.
To date, Gillian has sponsored the secondary and tertiary education of over 150 students across Malawi, through CITW. Her scholarship programmes and projects have enabled many disadvantaged children and youth to stay in school and obtain a wholesome education. Today, Gillian’s unwavering commitment and tireless efforts have given rise to successful graduates and professionals in various fields such as accountancy, teaching and eco-tourism, securing employment in organizations such as The Southern African Wildlife College, Central African Wilderness Safaris, as well as The Ministry of Education. She is currently facilitating the secondary education of 46 students, as well as the tertiary education of five students, who are undertaking degrees in various fields such as tourism, nursing, journalism, health sciences and humanities. Gillian has also extended her scholarship programme to support over 20 students in Zimbabwe through CITW.