Thank you very much for participating in and supporting our programs! Go! Malawi runs the following programs: conservation, education (After-School English Program, secondary and college student scholarships, primary school support) community support (individual loans, coffee farming cooperative, support for various groups). Your support was recognized and appreciated more than you realize! You had an impact!
Thank you for the time you spent building the playground! We are blessed in America to have an abundance of playgrounds as it is understood children need time to play. Playing builds cooperation and creativity and fosters critical thinking and independence! There is much evidence that shows creative play is an important part of learning! Schools with limited resources don’t allow the children to play as they don’t have the space or facilities. This playground will provide hours of play for children! Seeing you with some local villagers collaboratively digging holes, carrying tires, slashing grass and climbing trees to hang ropes and chains for the swings was wonderful! When I saw five girls on the large tire swing laughing simultaneously that was reward enough. I didn’t need another reason to be reminded of why we needed to build a playground! If girls do get the chance to attend school, they return to fetch water and firewood and cook dinner, so I was delighted to see girls enjoying that very moment with feverish delight! Upon completion of the project we will have one large galimoto (a 5 bench minibus) with a steering wheel and roof, a small climbing elephant, 4 see saws, 4 tire swings, a large tire cross, a large tire pyramid, a wooden cubby house and a newly groomed soccer pitch. Thank you for taking the time to make this happen. It was hard work with limited and failing equipment. Your patience and perseverance was rewarded!
When you attended the After-School English Program your presence confirmed again the importance of staying in school and learning. Girls often drop out and get married very young, ending the path they were on to independence, stifling their confidence and closing doors. Go! Malawi provides scholarships for all students that pass 8th grade, and they must pass the Standard 8 Leaving Exam. The After-School English Program is vital to provide the skills the learners need to pass that exam. Some of you may have forgotten the types of nouns (haha) when the teacher called upon you, but your support in the classrooms was important for the children and the teacher! When you paid attention to a girl, and when the American girls sat in the class, it provided hope and stirred up motivation to continue schooling, to not give up and work hard. Go! Malawi gives out 64 awards after every term, 32 are for girls. They work hard for them and your kindness and attendance again supported that mission!
The HIV+ Chimwemwe group also enjoyed your respect and attention as they shared their story with you. Throughout my course of visiting this group and talking to members over the years it was quite special to hear upon closure of the meeting they wanted tee-shirts with their name on it, as well as a metal sign on the road to point to their office. For the group to traverse from a few individuals seeking solace in times of despair, as they were shunned from the community, to standing proud in front of you asking to advertise themselves was quite impressive! Many of the ladies gave me proposals for starting independent enterprises as well upon departure. Thank you for listening to their story and showing them that they are important!