The Long Walk to School: Pilirani's Story


The walk to school was long and dangerous, and Pilirani was only in first grade. Government primary schools are free in Malawi, but they are limited, and this was the closest one. "It was very hard to walk," Pilirani recalls. "We had to pass by a bridge to get to school, which was very difficult when it was raining. The river would flood, and I remember one day we were stuck because we could not get across." 

When she was very young, Pilirani had to make a long, dangerous walk to school
                    When she was very young, Pilirani had to make a long, dangerous journey to reach school
When so many factors already urge girls to drop out of school at a young age in Malawi, the last thing Pilirani needed was a long, dangerous walk. On top of that, there was never enough to eat at her home, where she had lived with her grandmother since her parents died. Pilirani tried to concentrate in school, but her stomach hurt from hunger, making it difficult to learn.
But Pilirani was determined to succeed despite the difficulty and danger. Fortunately for her, generous people halfway across the world were also determined to make sure she had everything she needed to succeed. 
When Pilirani was in second grade, she was invited to join the Children of the Nations (COTN) child sponsorship program in her village, Mtsiliza. "My sponsors started paying for my school fees at a good school close to my home and to the COTN ministry center, where I could easily commute from school to the center for breakfast and lunch." 
Pilirani kept working hard in school. When she finished primary school, unlike most young Malawians who end their education when it is no longer is free, Pilirani was able to go on to COTN's secondary school, because of her sponsors. Today, she is in eleventh grade. "The teachers are so kind to us," she says. "I am receiving a much better education than most Malawians." 
Pilirani (center) is able to attend secondary school because of her sponsors
          Pilirani (center) is able to attend COTN's secondary school because of her sponsors and people like you. 
But as much as school means to her, Pilirani says the biggest change her sponsors have brought into her life is spiritual. "My life is different than before because now I am able to know the Word of God," she says. "At school, we are very encouraged in the Word of God. We have small groups where we learn and encourage each other." 
Pilirani (center) and some of her friends from COTN's secondary school
                               Pilirani (center) and some of her friends from COTN's secondary school. 
Pilirani sees her sponsors as people who have been blessed—in order to be a blessing to those in need. "I pray they should experience love from God for their heart to help, so that they can broaden their support to many other children like me," she says.
Pilirani has a similar prayer request for herself. "Help me pray for a better life, and a job one day, so that I will be able to help others." 
You can change a child's life today. Sponsor a child in Africa or the Caribbean.