Summer is finally here and BeeHive's volunteers have been brainstorming ideas to help this very special school on the other side of the world.
Currently, BeeHive's buildings are under construction with only 1/3 left to complete! With some classrooms still under construction, the completed classrooms are being shared. The school day is split into two shifts, with the younger students taking class in the morning and the older ones in the afternoon. This is working so far, but it's taking a substantial toll on the teachers and staff and BeeHive is anxious to finish construction. Two long-time supporters of BeeHive School - Katy and Abe - are dedicating their entire summer to help BeeHive complete construction.
Katy and Abe are taking a break from life as usual and hitting the road in the name of adventure and philanthropy. The adventure will involve pedaling and camping through Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Holland on a tandem bicycle. They're hoping to raise awareness and funds for BeeHive School - a primary school in Mzuzu, Malawi. Malawi is located in South Eastern Africa and is one of the poorest countries in the world.
Katy and Abe are planning to ride 3000 miles and their goal is to raise $1 per mile.
They are currently in Italy and have been enjoying centuries old ruins, gelato, vineyards, and pasta. You can dive into their week-by-week adventures on their personal blog:
You can also see where they've been and where they're headed on their bike tour through this really cool map complete with photos and posts. Katy and Abe are currently in Italy and making their way to Hungary.
Thank You for supporting BeeHive School and Katy and Abe on their marvelous adventure! Happy riding to all this summer!
( p.s. Niall Dorey, the founder and director of BeeHive School, has been working hard to get ADSL internet installed, so that he can send more photo and video updates for us all to enjoy. We're hoping to have more photos of construction by the end of the summer. If you are headed to Malawi this summer - then why not take advantage of the opportunity to spend a couple of days at BeeHive and help us collect some photos and videos of BeeHive School. You can take advantage of your time in Northern Malawi to also visit Lake Malawi and Nkhata Bay - I'm sure Niall has some recommendations for fun spots off-the-beaten track. )
Dear BeeHive Supporters,
Sorry for taking so long to post a new update, but communication with our field partners has been minimal, since the internet connection has been down for Niall. A new connection should be established soon, so we'll have pictures and hopefully even video headed your way soon.
We recently sent over $1000 USD, which at the current currency exchange rate works out to about 131000 kwqacha. These funds came in the nick of time as construction at BeeHive School is still in full-swing. They are working on the administration block, library, and computer room. The funds went straight into cement, which is surprisingly expensive in Malawi. Since Malawi is an under-developed nation certain materials which we take for granted in the United States are actually quite expensive. As a point of comparison, $100 USD can buy you 6000 bricks in Malawi, but it will only buy you a few bags of cement. Bricks are locally produced and there is a large market, therefore they are competitively priced. Cement, wood, and glass are harder to come by and thus more costly.
Niall has taken some video with the small HD camcorder Katy, Spencer, and Eva bought him as a Christmas gift. Since his internet connection is so slow we can't transfer the files online. We have sent him a few USB memory flash drives and he will be sending those our way soon. Unfortunately it can take anywhere from 1-3 month to mail packages from Mzuzu. But you can look forward to those videos in the coming months!
I didn't want to leave you all hanging, so I have included some photos from Troy Smith who visited the school a few months ago.
In some other news - a few of our volunteers are planning fundraisers in the form of garage sales soon when the spring comes, so if you're interested in hosting one contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for suggestions.
Niall also reports that the school is looking fantastic and he's excited to upload photos once he can get access to a good internet connection. He encourages all his friends and supporters to come visit soon!
We will never be able to say it enough - but Thank You, Thank You, Thank You to all our BeeHive supporters. It's because of your unwavering support that BeeHive has been able to weather all the challenges over the past couple of years and build a truly remarkable new school that will safely house generations of students to come.
Eva Markiewicz on behalf of The BeeHive School Team
A yearly tradition at BeeHive School is the much-talked about and much anticipated yearly spelling bee contest. This year was a big success and the winners are pictured below. The Spelling Bee took place in BeeHive's new classrooms, which are coming along nicely, but funds are running low.Currently, due to the incomplete classrooms, the school day is split into two shifts, so that the classrooms can be shared. The younger students take class in the morning and the older ones in the afternoon. This is working so far, but it's taking its toll on the teachers and staff and BeeHive is anxious to finish construction.BeeHive’s parents have already donated what they can and even pre-paid their dues for several semesters in order to further construction. Unfortunately, this has not been enough to finish construction.We are asking BeeHive supporters to pledge $10/month for at least one year on the Global Giving site to help with constructing a new bathroom unit at BeeHive.Finally, we’d just like to take a moment and reflect on this past year. BeeHive has seen some very low lows and high highs. At this time last year, BeeHive looked like it was going to be shut-down and an entire community lost, but with the help of so many hopeful and generous people both in Malawi and around the world, BeeHive pulled through and every day is looking brighter and brighter. Thank you so much to everyone who has helped us this year. Thank you for your encouragement, thank you for your hope, and thank you for your constant support.
We have lots of good news to report from BeeHive School!
First off, along with four other schools in Malawi, BeeHive entered the "British Council Exams" and all of BeeHive's students passed with flying colors! In fact, BeeHive's students did the very best, beating out every other school in Malawi. BeeHive prepares their students to compete on an international level.
Niall Dorey, BeeHive's founder, director, teacher, and handy-man, was lucky enough to host his old University friends that came to support Niall and BeeHive through their toughest times. Niall had a lovely time and is looking forward to their next visit.
Now for some really big and exciting news - The second of three planned sections of the new school are now complete and BeeHive is hoping to be back up to 150 students! Niall has promised to send photos and asks everyone to keep sending good thoughts across the pond.
For more photos of the construction progress, please check out our website:
Stephen and Maureen Dorey, BeeHive's biggest champions (and Niall's parents) organized a "Scottish Dance" fundraiser with the assistance of their daughter, Claire. It was an incredible success! They raised £470 for Beehive School, which will go to the last of three sections for the new school! Thank you to all those lively spirits who kicked up their heals and really got the party going! Thanks on behalf of every BeeHive supporter for your generosity and kindness!
And last, but definitely not least, the Ministry of Education performed another inspection of the new buildings and BeeHive passed with flying colors - in fact, the inspector said that Beehive was a model structure and that they would be sending more people to visit to see what a well-built and safe school should look like. Niall and BeeHive are finally able to breathe easier knowing the the school is up-to-code.
Everyone has his or her own view of determination.
For me it’s always been Rudy, the scrappy kid who ditches the steel plant to follow his dream of Notre Dame football stardom. I mean, come on. At the end, when his whole family is there and everyone is chanting, that’s just classic. If you don’t tear up I’m pretty sure you don’t have a heart. Sean Astin, a tip of the hat to you.
For some people perseverance and determination is Mandela, King, or that guy who cut off his own arm to escape from underneath that boulder (come on, you all definitely remember).
However, it is pretty rare that one encounters that kind of person firsthand; a person who is literally putting everything they have, heart and soul, into one, singular goal.
When I arrived in Mzuzu, Malawi I admit I hadn’t done my research. I knew I was visiting a primary school called the Beehive School, and that they had encountered some trouble as of late. Aside from that, I was pretty much in the dark.
What I found when I arrived was a man who had been worked to the core, had been run ragged, and yet still was keeping his chin up. Before I even heard his story, I knew Niall Dorey had faced some tough times. He moved a bit slow, looked a bit tired, and yet seemed completely anxious to get to school the next morning.
The Beehive School was founded following Niall’s experience teaching in a local Malawian private school in the early 2000s. Faced with overcrowded classrooms, unmotivated teachers, and overall lack of proper infrastructure, Niall decided to act.
“The school I was teaching in was supposed to be the best in the Northern Region, but I thought these kids were missing out on something. I thought I could make a school that was so much better.”
Starting with eight students, and using a room of his own home, Niall Dorey officially started the Beehive School.
The school quickly grew to a massive 210 students, all decked out in their construction orange dress shirts and black ties. Classrooms and a playground were constructed, the operation expanded, and the Doreys moved into a new home. The school was even complete with a library and a computer lab. There were definitely some busy bees at Beehive, but for the Ministry of Education, the honey left a bitter taste.
Lacking proper licensing, and possessing “temporary structures” (which more often than not, were better than the facilities at local schools), Beehive was ordered to close in November 2009; this the very day they were approved for a parcel of land on which to build the permanent structures.
Unsure of what to do, feeling completely hopeless, Niall tried to negotiate with the Ministry of Education, but was met only with negativity.
Pressured by others, Beehive went to court.
While the court battle was ultimately unsuccessful, it did allow them a stay of closure. Two sessions later, however, they were closed yet again. Crushed and defeated, it seemed Beehive would simply be a dream lost by the wayside.
However, the dream still lives on. With the help of some dedicated parents, Niall was able to collect funds and hastily finish construction on one classroom block at the new site. It is simple, no frills, but it is indeed a permanent structure
They must split the school sessions--grades 1-4 in the morning, 5-6 in the afternoon. The walls are all blank, the blackboard has been painted onto the wall, and there’s a bit of condensation coming through the windows; but it’s a school, and a pretty good one at that.
If one were to have any doubt about Niall’s passion and love for these children, they need only see him at work in the classroom. Niall has had to adopt a first grade class as his own due to staff shortages, but still he puts everything he has into molding those little, at times a bit hyperactive, minds.
However, the work isn’t done. Construction on the second block is still underway, and the Dorey clan is working hard to ensure that everything about Beehive is up to code (there is quite a lot to the Malawian School Codes, just trust me, it’s pretty unbelievable).
Niall’s wife, Constance, has been a rock during the entire ordeal, single-handedly lifting bags upon bags of concrete for construction, at times acting as the brawn to Niall’s more soft-spoken nature. The two, with their three beautiful children, earn couple-of-the-year in my eyes.
While the stress may be overwhelming, and the staff members may be dwindling, I have no doubt in my mind that Niall Dorey will succeed and accomplish his ultimate goal—a proper education for Malawian children, and a beautiful school on a red clay hill.
“I’m going to build this school, no matter what. I want this school, the parents want this school, the children of Mzuzu need this school. (Niall Dorey)
Troy Smith, a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is currently an In-the-Field traveler visiting GlobalGiving projects throughout Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania. Follow his trip at http://troygivesglobal.tumblr.com/.
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