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Malawi: First Visits

On today’s beautiful but sweltering morning, we visited Mwandama village. The Opportunity International mobile bank visits this remote village twice a month.

Of the 17,000 inhabitants of the area 2,000 are clients of this mobile bank which enables them to deposit and withdraw money as well as receive loans.

In this village, we were welcomed by a number of clients, but a particularly interesting client was Mr. Nantchengua.

Four times increase!

He has been able to grow his agricultural and small shop business. His agricultural output has grown from 25 bags of maize to 100 bags enabling him to support all of his 25 family members!

He has 3 children which attend a secondary school in a less rural village where they are able to board due to the success of his business.

At his home, I was invited to help Mrs. Nantchengua make a traditional lunch consisting of nsima (a maize and water dish) and a relish of tomato and fish.

New classrooms

Mrs Nantchengua then allowed everyone to sample the food we had made – we were all overwhelmed by her hospitality.

In the afternoon, having visited several other families and travelled to Chikala primary school. The headmaster, Mr. Mueruza, informed us that he employs 28 teachers with approximately 1700 students.

We saw the foundations for the new classroom blocks that are being built due to the Save the Children project.

Fully equipped

The headmaster and his staff were extremely grateful for the hard work the Save the Children team have put in to provide this new block.

Furthermore, the project is helping to provide school books and other necessary equipment for appropriate learning.

One thing that stood out for me was the involvement of the local community, especially the parents of the children that attend the school.

Meeting the parents

We met many of these parents who were making inks from a mixture of brick dust, charcoal or chalk with sugar and water.

They then transferred this ink to cardboard or paper (or even banana leaves!) to make posters with words and/or pictures on to aid the learning in the classroom.

A number of these parents have also become clients of Opportunity Bank. They learnt of the microfinance initiative in their are through meetings at the school and this is also where the financial training sessions are conducted.

Inspiring

It was truly inspiring to see how the community come together to provide teaching materials, as well as baring witness to the fantastic progress that Chikala primary school has been able with the aid of the Save the Children project.

Another school visit tomorrow!

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