SOFF’s bursary program is based on merit and vulnerability  criteria, targeting  girls and boys selected to Grant-aided Secondary Schools, National Secondary School, District Secondary Schools and Community Day Secondary Schools (CDSS).Through the Ministry of Education Bursary Packages manual, SOFF works collaboratively with the school bursary committees and Education Division Directors to follow the laid down steps in the manual. Vulnerable students who have not reported to school for the first two weeks of school opening and cannot afford school fees are identified and verified. The students are listed based on their vulnerability and the most vulnerable students with the following criteria appear at the top of the list submitted to Ministry of Education:

  • A child coming from a child headed household.
  • Double or single orphans, living with elderly grandparents or chronically ill parents.
  • A child with no able parent or guardian, this includes disability.
  • A neglected child with special needs.

2020 -2021  Bursary Beneficieries

SOFF awarded 309 scholarships to needy secondary schools going girls and boys across the country. The first phase of scholarships covered 161 students (154 girls and 7 boys) and the second phase scholarship covered 148 Street connected kids (80 girls and 68 boys). 


The total grant of 309 students (234 girls and 75 boys) costed over forty-nine million kwacha. The bursary package included school fees for three terms and uniforms. The students  will be supported until completion of secondary school education,  on the the basis of maintaining good performance and discipline in school. 

2020-2021 Bursary Distribution

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2021-2022 Bursary Beneficiaries

During the academic year of 2021 to 2022, SOFF aimed to enhance scholarships for boys and girls from rural and extremely impoverished households by 33%. However, thanks to the influential partnerships established through the initiatives led by Her Excellency Madam Monica Chakwera, such as National Education Think Tank, and Girls Mentorship, this target was not only achieved but exceeded. A total of 1,636 full and partial scholarships were granted throughout the nation as a result.


Of these scholarships, 51% (835) were granted to girls, while 49% (801) were awarded to boys. Out of the total number, 417 were full scholarships that covered tuition, uniforms, and examination fees. The remaining students were on the brink of dropping out and faced the risk of not being able to complete their final year of secondary school. To support them, they received partial bursaries that covered either examination fees or final year tuition.


SOFF played a pivotal role in awarding these scholarships, both through their own fundraising efforts and in collaboration with esteemed partners such as the Merck Foundation, UNAIDS, The Chinese Embassy, and NBS Bank. The total budget allocated for these bursaries amounted to Mk 102.516,161, with 97% (Mk 99,440,676) being dedicated to full bursary packages.

2021-2022 Bursary Distribution

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2022-2023 Bursary Beneficiaries

The academic year of 2022-2023 commenced with exciting news of a four-year  Girls Education for Empowerment (GEE) Project,  implemented  by SOFF in partnership with  Plan International Malawi. This endeavour is made possible through funding from Plan International Germany National Office.


The GEE Project, aims to empower vulnerable children, particularly girls, by facilitating their access to and successful completion of secondary school education. The project also strives to support their transition into tertiary-level education, employing a comprehensive approach to address their various needs.Under the GEE project, a total of 950 vulnerable students were initially targeted to receive bursaries. However, due to an unexpected increase in school fees, 735 students from 121 secondary school forms (562 girls and 173 boys) were able to benefit from the program during the 2022-2023 academic year.The 950-project target will be cumulatively achieved over the four years of project implementation.


SOFF also  extended its support to 378 continuing students from previous years, granting them full bursaries. This financial assistance was made possible through contributions from various organizations and individuals, including Merck Foundation, the Chinese Embassy, NBS Bank, First Capital Bank, and other kind-hearted donors. Consequently, a noteworthy total of 1,113 students have been granted comprehensive school bursaries this year. These bursaries encompass a wide range of expenses, such as tuition fees, school uniforms for first-year students, and examination fees for second-year and fourth-year students.

2022-2023 Bursary Distribution Vs Source of Funding

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Plan International’s Girls Education for Empowerment (GEE) program has recorded the highest number of beneficiaries, accounting for 67% (n=730) of the total. 

Class Distribution of 2022-2023 Bursary Beneficiaries

A significant proportion of students,  specifically 44% (485), are currently enrolled in the first year of their education (Form 1). These students will receive ongoing support from the GEE project, which is funded by Plan International for four years. Another group of students, approximately 33% (380 students) is in  form 2, followed by 18% (202 students) in form 3 and 5% (58 students ) in form 4. These students have secured commitment of funding from SOFF’s partnership with the Merck Foundation, NBS Bank, First Capital Bank, and the Chinese Embassy in Malawi.  Furthermore, SOFF remains dedicated to raising additional bursary funds through various fundraising events.

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Bursary Funding

Bursary Funding Over Three Academic Years

Over the past three years of operation, bursary funding has consistently increased alongside the growing number of beneficiaries. Despite global economic hardships, Her Excellency Madam Monica Chakwera, through the Shaping Our Future Foundation (SOFF), remains dedicated to ensuring that every village girl and boy in Malawi can access high-quality and fair education. Therefore, the foundation expresses deep gratitude for the strengthened partnerships with Plan International, the Merck Foundation, NBS Bank, First Capital Bank, the Chinese Embassy in Malawi, and all the individual well-wishers. Their generous financial support has been instrumental in guaranteeing equal and equitable access to secondary school education for every village girl and boy in Malawi.

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