St. John of God Community Services Malawi

Together we are stronger.

Elvira Special Needs School

Elvira provides special needs education to 396 children ranging in age from 3 to 15. The institute is in three sectors; preschool, primary school and pre-vocation center. The institute is transitory in nature, meaning that children do not write Government exams at the center, instead they are referred to mainstream primary schools in order to learn together with their peers. Those with significant academic difficulties are oriented to the pre-vocation training programs for a maximum of 3 years in order to prepare them for a vocational training program.

Elvira is the only special needs school in Malawi, based in the northern district of Mzuzu. Pupils range in age from 3 – 13  years, they present with many complex needs such as autism, intellectual & physical disabilities and down syndrome.

Each day the children work on their different cognitive skills to help support them towards independence

  Sensory      Motor    Sensory   Social    Self Help
Water play    Colouring  Water play  Special Olympics    Eating & Drinking
Ball rolling  Block building  Ball rolling  Domestic play  Toilet training  
Tasting Drawing Feeding  Listening to the radio  Washing hands

If the children were not attending school they would be locked in their houses for the day until their parent or guardian returned from work.

Every child receives a meal during school time, for some children this will be the only meal they will have that day. For the children that are able, the school works on introducing them into the main stream school system. Parents are also provided with counselling and training on how to help their child.