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/.
BeeHive School has been making steady progress with new construction. Constance, Niall's wife, has been indispensable and has been overseeing construction of the new school; often traveling several hours into remote villages to find the most affordable and best quality bricks.
Three wings are planned at the new site and currently the smallest wing has been completed. Please review the attached architectural drawings for a detailed look at what BeeHive has planned. Rowan Haysom, who is originally from South Africa and who is trained in sustainable buildings, designed the new school blueprints free of charge. Rowan has incorporated passive efficiency measures to optimize natural cooling of the building during hot months and designed the school buildings to have plenty of natural lighting. To learn more about Rowan Haysom, please visit:
Tensions were high for founder/director Niall Dorey and the BeeHive community when they lost in the appeals court a couple of weeks ago and the old school site was shut down for good, since the buildings do not meet basic building safety codes. For a time BeeHive was shut down with no place to hold classes.
Fortunately, the Ministry of Education sent representatives to the new school site last week and they were very pleased with the progress. It looks like BeeHive will be permitted to hold classes in the wing of the school that has just been completed, as long as they continue to make steady progress with the rest of the school. Since the new school buildings are not complete, they can only accommodate a portion of the students at a time, so there may be two sessions during the day, increasing the burden on the teachers and staff.
Niall Dorey and his family, including his parents Maureen and Stephen Dorey, have been working tirelessly to raise funds and complete construction. Many friends and generous supporters have come out of the woodwork to help BeeHive, most notably Peigi Mairi Nicholson and Back Primary School, a very small village school on the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides who recently raised £500 for BeeHive School. It just goes to show how many small hands working together can accomplish something amazing. Hats off to the incredible efforts of these generous students with such big hearts!
Funding for the new roof for the school wing came through the generous support of the Rotary Club of Ceilidh who raised £1000! An press clipping of their efforts is attached.
There has also been a lot of support through our Facebook Fan Page and website. Thank you everyone for being so engaged and showing your support for Niall and the BeeHive community.
In summary, summer is finally here and BeeHive has been reveling in the good news from the Ministry of Education! BeeHive will be using the 1/3 of the school that is currently completed to hold classes in, so construction will continue Pano'A'Pango (little by little). BeeHive needs donations now more than ever to finish construction and keep the school open for as many students as possible.
Global Giving will be matching donations by 50% on June 16. This means that if you donate 50, then BeeHive gets $75. If you donate $100 then BeeHive gets $150. And if you donate $200 then BeeHive gets $300. So if you've been thinking of donating then please do it early on this June 16! Thank You!
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Lastly, you should look forward to some updates from Troy Smith, a student that will be visiting BeeHive School on behalf of Global Giving in the coming weeks.
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