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mountainside school
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Malawian children
Malawian children reading

Malawi Early Literacy Team

M.E.L.T. is comprised of a group of education and business professionals with a passion for young children and the doors that can be opened for those children through literacy. It is our mission to equip the children in the Northern Region of Malawi, Africa with up to date, culturally appropriate early literacy materials and readers. The readers we publish are about Malawi village daily life, science and culture, and basic health concepts. We will continue teacher training in the six schools that we serve so the teachers can get top results when using these materials.




hillside school mobile library children holding MELT published book

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

Between 2008 and 2014, five short term mission trips in Northern Malawi focused on training primary teachers to teach early reading. Although the Malawian teachers were grateful and enthusiastic learners, the trainers were dismayed by the severe lack of curriculum materials and early reading books.


THE NEXT STEP

A three-person team (Margot McGorman, Mike Miller, Heather White) traveled to Malawi in April 2015 to meet with government education officials and Malawian teachers who had participated in the training program. This visit confirmed the ongoing need for early literacy readers, teacher training, and supplemental classroom literacy materials.


NOW: M.E.L.T.

The M.E.L.T. Committee was formed December of 2015 to continue these early literacy efforts in Malawi. M.E.L.T. is undertaking a literacy project in the Northern Region of Malawi which will:

  • • Develop and publish K-2 early literacy readers (a 30 - 40 title library).
  • • Provide an alphabet fluency kit for each teacher in our program.
  • • Purchase a Land Cruiser for use as a bookmobile.
  • • Offer teacher instruction in early reading practices over the next five years.
  • • Hire a Malawi field manager to manage the bookmobile service year round.


MELT is an Ecumenical Mission Project of the Watertown First Presbyterian Church.
Meet Our Team

Meet Our Team



Heather White
Heather White

Team Leader

Heather recently retired after 36 years of teaching. She is a founding member of WOGWF and M.E.L.T. Heather has traveled to Malawi six times. Her passion is working with the children of Malawi.

Carol Stevens
Carol Stevens

Committee Member

A retired teacher with experience teaching grades 1-4 and Reading Recovery. Carol was a member of the 2014 mission trip.

Carolyn Osborne
Carolyn Osborne

Committee Member

Has worked over 35 years in the printing industry. She is currently owner of a small commercial print shop. Carolyn prints the books and educational materials for M.E.L.T.



Margot McGorman
Margot McGorman

Committee Member

Has an M.S. in communication disorders and has worked as a speech pathologist for over 30 years. She traveled to Malawi in 2015 as a member of Outreach Council.

Joanne Lavarnway
Joanne Lavarnway

Committee Member

Is a former K-4 reading teacher. Joanne has assisted in composing books for Malawian children. She is a volunteer for community agencies.

Barb Eldridge
Barb Eldridge

Committee Member

Is a retired K-3 elementary reading teacher. Barb was a member of the 2013 mission trip. While in Malawi she taught model lessons in five schools.

Patricia Constable
Patricia Constable

Committee Member

Is a 4th grade teacher and has been in education for 24 years. She has expierence teaching kindergarten through 4th grade.

Sam Chirwa
Sam Chirwa

Field Manager

Is the Field Manager of M.E.L.T., as we continue to grow in the Northern Region of Malawi. He is the connection between local Malawian officials, the teachers, & the US team. He is responsible for coordinating the Book Mobile Program. His the current Field Manager for the WOGWF.

Grace Chiumia
Grace Chiumia

Minister of Malawi Home Affairs & Internal Security

The Malawian Advisor to M.E.L.T. &. Grace is a member of Parliament & the Presidential Cabinet. Grace is Director & a founding member of the Women of Grace Widows’ Fund, an organization that assists widows of Malawi with critical needs, housing, & village loan training programs.

Andy Burns
Andy Burns

Committee Member

A SUNY Potsdam graduate with an Art Studio major & writing minor. Owner of SnakeTree Productions, and PTA vice president, and former president, of Sherman School. He handles M.E.L.T.'s print & web needs, as well as some photography duties.

Malawian Teachers
Malawian Teachers

On-the-ground Team

The teachers involved with M.E.L.T. represent over 2,000 K-2 students. They vary widely in teacher education & classroom condition. Some classrooms have desks or benches while others are set up outside with a chalkboard & stones as seats. These hard working, resourceful teachers want the best for their students & the future of Malawi.

“Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development.”

~Kofi Annan

Our Services

M.E.L.T. provides the teachers and students of Northern Malawi with four key services: early literacy publications, teacher training, teachers' edition manuals, and a mobile library that transports the materials to the classrooms.





Early Literacy Publications

MELT is committed to providing culturally appropriate early readers. These readers will be about Malawian children for Malawian children. Research shows that when children are learning to read, they are more successful when the pictures are familiar to them. In a country where most homes do not have electricity, a picture depicting 'V is for vacuum' is useless. The book collection will include readers written about Malawi village daily life, Malawi science and culture, and important basic health and safety concepts.





Teacher Training

The MELT program includes ongoing early literacy training for primary teachers in northern Malawi. All teachers will receive an alphabet literacy kit and classroom training in the best practices with these materials. We will continue to provide teacher training as we publish additional early literacy materials. This will ensure that children receive high quality instruction as they learn to read.





Teachers' Edition Manuals

We will provide instruction manuals for teachers to use after each training workshop. These manuals will include detailed examples of the best practices for the early readers, ABC Fluency Kit, and other early literacy materials.





Mobile Library

The purchase of a Land Cruiser will allow the MELT field manager to transport materials to and from teachers in rural schools. Most of our village schools are located in the bush, over very rough terrain, making access quite difficult. The Book Mobile will allow these remote schools to share a large pool of early literacy materials to teach young children how to read.





Help Us Provide These Services

You can help us provide these vital services in a number of ways: donate funds, sponsor a book, ask us to speak at a meeting or function, and spread the word.





Donate Funds

Many of you have been a huge help providing the funds for the purchase of the M.E.L.T. Land Cruiser. However, our expenses don't stop there. Building and publishing our early literacy library, creating and printing the teacher manuals & sound cards, and maintaining the Land Cruiser will be regular expenses we incur. Our mission trips to distribute new materials and hold teacher workshops will also require regular fundraising. Any amount you are able to contribute will help us to continue providing our services to the children and teachers of Northern Malawi. You can choose how your donation will be used by specifiying on the memo line of your check (general, publications, mobile library, etc.), or selecting from a dropdown menu when donating online below. Checks can be sent to: Watertown First Presbyterian Church c/o MELT, 403 Washington Street, Watertown, NY 13601

Donate



Sponsor a Book

By sponsoring one of our books, you will provide the funds necessary to print and distribute the book. The book you sponsor will be dedicated to you or a person of your choice. Book sponorship pricing is available at the link below.

Sponsor a Book



Outreach Opportunities

The Malawi Early Literacy Team is excited to announce our Outreach Opportunity. We would love to come and speak to your organization, church, or family gathering about our work in the Northern Region of Malawi, Africa! We have: a PowerPoint presentation, tri-folds, and samples of the materials we are using in Malawi. Please consider scheduling a visit from a team member and learn how you can help the young children of Malawi achieve literacy!

Contact Us



Spread the Word

Let your friends, family and co-workers know about the cause that is taking action to fortify early literacy in Northern Malawi: the Malawi Early Literacy Team. Spread the word about our mission to create and distribute much-needed litereacy supplies to the children and teachers of the remote regions of Northern Malawi. Whether you share information verbally, on paper via one of our flyers or trifolds or via social media, spreading the word about M.E.L.T. will help us garner the support necessary to carry out our goals!

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“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

~Nelson Mandela

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.”

~Kofi Annan

M.E.L.T. News

“Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity.”

~Aristotle

Contact Details

We would love to hear from you. Use one of the forms of contact listed here to ask questions, join the conversation, voice your concerns, or book us to speak to your group or organization.

Thanks for keeping in touch!

MELT is an Ecumenical Mission Project of the Watertown First Presbyterian Church.

New York

403 Washington St.
Watertown, NY 13601
info@m-e-l-t.org


Phone: 315.782.1750
Fax: 315.782.2360

Donation Info

Make checks payable to:

First Presbyterian Church

Write memo line:

MELT*

*If you would like to specify how your donations will be used, also write: mobile library, publications, mission trips, or teacher resources.
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