Chilomoni, Blantyre

The Mother Teresa Nursery was devised in order to provide severely lacking pre-School education to one the poorest townships in the Southern region of Malawi. The Centre aims to offer an International-standard of pre-School education; two-thirds of the students, who are aged 1-5 years, have fully-sponsored or heavily subsidised places, so as to ensure that the facility is accessible to the community’s neediest families.

“Evidence shows that the first years of a child’s life set the stage for all future growth. In the earliest years of life, especially from pregnancy to two years old, babies and children need nutrition, protection and stimulation for healthy brain development.” (UNICEF, Malawi)

Building Design
“The students, even at their young age, can recognise that the building is special, and the environment that has been created here is dramatically different from what they are used to.”
(Fortune Machado, MTCC Room Leader)
Beehive Main Campus, Chilomoni, Blantyre, Malawi
Children’s Centre / Nursery Teaching Spaces
Year of Construction
2010 – 2012
Design Architect
Marty McColl
Project Architect
Giacomo Zanardo
Design Engineer
Sam Youdan
Geotechnical Engineer
Zedi Nyirenda
Project Engineers
Hendrix Mgawana, Chris Sadler and Melvin Hurst
Total Building Area (Approx. GEA)
Number of Storeys
Construction Cost
129,474,677 MWK for MTCC North and South
(£132,157 GBP – rate correct as of 24th August 2020)
Cost per m²
75,539 MWK/m²
(£77 GBP/m²)

An international-standard of construction and design was required to match the Centre’s educational aspirations. The building comprises 8 classrooms, set across 2 storeys. Each unit has an area of 70m2 and includes integrated WCs and a Kitchen area, removing the need for students to leave the room during the day. External learning spaces are located adjacent to the classrooms, allowing for a range of teaching methods to be implemented.

The building utilises Beehive’s site-made ‘Hydraform’ interlocking blocks (which are formed using local soil) as an infill to the reinforced concrete structural frame. The roof structure comprises a series of timber trusses, which are expressed internally at higher level to create a dramatic and interesting 3D ceiling-scape to the classroom interiors.

Natural ventilation and lighting is successfully created in the classrooms through the use of centralised ‘chimneys’, honeycomb brick detailing at high levels on the external North walls and full-height, glazed openings to the South facade. The classrooms are cool and comfortable, even in the hottest of months. The building’s circulation is via two external ‘balcony’ corridors to the North of the building, reducing the amount of ‘internalised’ spaces in the building. Playful, scattered windows populate the East and West facades, many placed at ‘child-height,’ providing impressive views out to the nearby Michiru Mountain.
Social Impact
Bible stories, songs, quizzes and role plays are integrated into the children’s education
Catholic Community Support
Qualified Teachers are currently employed at the nursery
Job Creation
Children attend the nursery
All Teachers have an Early Childhood Diploma
Quality Education
children on scholarships a year
children partly subsidised a year
Supporting the Vulnerable
“The building has created jobs for the community, helped less privileged children access quality education, care and meals. Relationships have also been built through the interaction of us workers and parents, as we come from different areas.”
(Doreen Mwale, MTCC Assistant Daycare Team Leader)
The Mother Teresa Nursery currently has 140 children, with a staff to student ratio of 1:4, providing a unique learning environment for local children. It is the first of its kind in Malawi to be based on the UK SureStart model, centred around learning though play. A high quality of teaching is provided and all Teachers have an Early Childhood Diploma. Monitoring and evaluation practices are in place, to maintain a good standard of care, structured around 4 KPI’s; ‘Enjoy and achieve,’ ‘Stay healthy and Be Safe,’ ‘Make a positive contribution’ and ’Achieve Economic Well-being.’ All students benefit from the Family Support Office (FSO) and the Extended School Workers (ESW) programmes. The FSO team conducts home visits to assess each child’s home environment and gives support to those families in need. Growth monitoring is undertaken and students are provided with a free school meal a day. The ESW team support students in transitioning from daycare to primary school – which we hope will soon be Beehive’s St Kizito Primary School once its open in September 2021.
Meet The Team

I am Chrissie Chilemba. I am an Early Childhood Development practitioner at MTCC. I am a holder of a Diploma in Early Childhood Development and a Certificate in Business Management. My job involves supporting children’s learning by delivering activities as opportunities to play, encouraging the development of each child in all four domains of the Malawian ECD curriculum. We work to provide a high quality and rich environment to meet the needs of each individual child. I feel good, proud and lucky to be part of the great team that is working hand in hand in supporting children’s learning and development. Not only that but the innocence in the children that we work with melts my heart away.

Chrissie Chilemba

Early Childhood Development practitioner

My name is Alfred Phiri. I was trained as a Care Giver and currently hold the position of a Team Leader at MTCC Nursery. To support my role I have attended a lot of in-service training, including first aid, child protection and leadership. I also hold a certification in Early Childhood Development. My role is to make sure that every child gets quality care and education by making sure that plans for children’s education are done according to their needs and age. I also make sure the environment is safe for the kids to play and learn and supervise both staff and children. My favourite thing about my work is when I see a newly signed in or registered child settling down and achieving the milestones.

Alfred Phiri

Team Leader

My name is Philip Emiliano. I am a gardener at the Mother Teresa Children’s Centre. I started as a casual labourer in the construction department and was then given a full time job as a gardener, where I have worked for 6 years now. My role involves remove litter, cut the grass around the premises, water the flowers, sweeping and any other duties assigned by the management from time to time. My favourite part of my job is seeing the premises around MTCC clean and interacting with almost everyone who works at the centre.

Philip Emiliano

The project contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals

The Mother Teresa Children’s Centre is a first of its kind in Malawi; the first to be based on the UK SureStart model, helping to transform the lives of hundreds of families and help children to have the best possible start in life.

  • There is day care for up to 175 children a year, with UK staffing and space ratios. Many of these children are orphans, or particularly vulnerable and receive their care completely free of charge. Others pay monthly fees because their parents work. Whether fee paying or free, all children are treated the same at Mother Teresa and all children have the opportunity to lead their own learning through play in a supportive, creative and caring environment.
  • All Care Givers have completed a full year of training and qualified with their Diploma in Early Years Education and Professional Childcare
  • We provide a comprehensive outreach and family support service, bringing preventative child protection to the community for the first time
  • There are facilities for early years healthcare provision including baby weighing and vaccination clinics, giving parents and children the opportunity to also access other centre services such as stay and play groups while they are keeping their family healthy
  • The centre is situated on the newly developed “campus” of enterprise and learning: along with the primary school, an IT Training Academy and small social-enterprise units, parents are able to train and work supported by access to subsidised childcare places and knowing their children are safe.
  • The building was designed purposefully to enable any agency who shares our vision to work together, share information and learn from each other and we help to train others in the community who care for young children.

Between January 2012 to March 2105 over 10,000 families accessed support from Mother Teresa Children’s Centre

Special thanks to all those who sponsor a childcare place for an orphan or vulnerable child. Every child who is sponsored has a full time place in our nursery including three healthy meals a day; this makes a huge difference to the life of some of the neediest children in Malawi. If you would like to be part of our “Give a Child a Chance” sponsorship scheme please email for more details. Or print and complete this form: Helping is Simple

Our vision is that children will:
  • Enjoy and achieve- so they are better prepared for school and lifelong education
  • Stay healthy and safe- by preventing problems from occurring and strengthening families so they can care for their children.
  • Make a positive contribution- through participation and involvement in the decisions that affect their community and lives
  • Achieve economic wellbeing- by helping parents to gain new skills and the confidence they need to have to be work ready