Unforutunately in a similar fashion to last year, the decision was taken not to travel to Malawi this summer for our annual summer school. We hope that 2022 will see our return to our friends in the villages of Zomba.
The current pandemic didn’t stop the team in Malawi, Ireland & the UK dreaming again of how a summer school could go ahead. As was the case last year, everybody was determined to provide another incredible learning experience to the children. We are happy to report from Malawi that the 2021 summer school was a fantastic success.
Preparations for this years summer school started all the way back in March, with our directors & volunteers in the Northern Hemisphere coming together to brainstorm ideas on how things might go ahead.
Everybody worked very hard to create educational booklets for all age groups & capabilities. As is tradition by now, we also gathered some educational resources like laptops & books which together were posted out. There was a sigh of relief 2-weeks before the summer school was due to commence when we received an email confirming that the resources had arrived safely & that the summer school would be going ahead. Thank you to all involved.
At the same time in Malawi, the Trust began to reach out to some local teachers to gauge their interest in becoming involved & leading lessons in our absence. Their outreach was met with a great deal of positivity & excitement from local teachers, who over the years have heard of the success of Chifundo & wanted to be involved.
Skills workshops were also held on the campus allowing children to continue to develop their skills in I.T, Carpentry & Tailoring. These elements have become a key fixture in the Chifundo calendar with workshops now being held 3-4 times per year.
As is tradition by now, the children love to get together for a group photo to end the summer school. It’s great to see them all growing up so fast!!
A huge word of thanks has to go to the Trust in Malawi. Once again they have shown incredible skill & vision in carrying out such a great summer school in these challenging times.
Peter Cogavin recently represented Chifundo Foundation as part of a live audience with the Malawian Presient & Minister for Education.
He reported that “It was inspiring to see such well-founded optimism regarding economic development in the country, and especially to see how education is considered to be the bedrock of their 2063 vision for a more prosperous ‘Warm Heart of Africa’.”
Most discussion on education, including a question from Peter on the upcoming reforms, are from 43 minutes in.
We are delighted to confirm that our amazing students & Trust members maintain good health at this time. We pray for their continued safety & well-being.
Over the last number of months, while having to deal with school closures & teacher strikes to begin the year, the Trust have maintained efforts to ensure the success of the Foundation.
The current school term came to an end on May 7th & the children are now enjoying a well-deserved 2-week break. During this holiday, the Trust have planned to have some gatherings at the campus where tailoring and carpentry lessons will be conducted. This will be a great opportunity for children to further develop skills learned in previous workshops. These workshops might ignite a spark for some children to chase a profession or a livelihood in these areas.
We are delighted to announce that the following children will soon enroll in the Chifundo Foundation;
Promise Mbewe, who will attend The Learning Centre
Patricia Nkhoma, who will attend The Learning Centre
Chrissy Dambo, who will attend The Learning Centre
Chisomo Chimimba who will attend Chesa School
We hope you can all join us in extending our best wishes to our newest members. Chifundo will now provide school fees, nutritional meals, educational supplies, school uniforms & much more to its newest members.
Over the last couple of months, our friends in Malawi have been reporting a very good rain season with bumper harvests in some areas. The fact that Malawi has produced some excess crops this year should bode well for food security over the coming year.
At the start of February families visited the green grass at the Chifundo Campus to collect their monthly covid support packages.
The packages contain a mix of both nutritional & hygiene products to help them through this tough time. We thank you all for your continued support which has been identified by The Trust in Zomba as a key aspect contributing to the health & nutrition of our children & their families at this time.
With your support & a good rain season just behind us there is continued hope for our families & young students for the year ahead.
2020 was a testing year for us all, but even moreso for our friends in Malawi. But when times were tough, we were once again left amazed with the resolve & unrelenting support from you, our donors.
Though a tough year, there have been some incredibly positive strides made by our students. Of particular note is the progression of Eric to University. Such an amazing achievement in this current time & one sure to provide further inspiration to the students looking to emulate his success.
This year we also introduced a new scholarship opportunity to support students like Eric who advance to 3rd level and students who might progress towards Polytechnical skills. If you would like further information on this please get in touch!
We can only express our sincere gratitude for your continued support, a gratitute which is shared & expaned upon so wonderfully by the children in the centre of our 2020 Newsletter below.
Thank you so much for your continued support to the Chifundo programme & send you all our best wishes for a brighter 2021 for us all.
Hopefully, at some point in 2021 we may be able to visit our friends in Zomba, Malawi again!
Thank you once again for supporting our Chifundo Golf outing this year. It was a great success and the picture below shows the joy, opportunity and change you are bringing to the 75 Chifundo students in Zomba, Malawi
Thanks also to everyone at Greystones Golf Club & everyone who generously gave up their time in order to ensure the event could be run in an efficient & safe manner. Given these challenging times we face not only here but in Malawi too, we can only express our gratitude for your unwaivering support.
On the day 32 teams played, with the results below. Congratulations to all involved.
First (50.67) – Hugh Gray & John Flaherty (Beechpark), Stephen Gunning & Michael Clarke (Corrstown)
Second (51.50) – Pat Raftery, Joe Coleman, Frank Looby & Pat O’Regan – All from Greystone.
Third (52.83) – Fiontain McKenna, Darren Quigley (Elm Green), Larry O’Reilly, Brian Quigley (Woodbrook)
Fourth (53.40) – Seamus Clancy Team.
Mixed Teams shared with 55.84; Ray and Mags Hogan (Greystones) with Tom and Olwyn Ryan (Elm Park). Dan and Jackie Shanahan with John and Susan O’Dwyer (all Woodbrook)
Thank you all so much for your fantastic support. These funds raised on the day will go to ensuring we can continue to support our young Chifundo members on their educational journey as clasess start to resume in Malawi over the coming days & weeks ahead.
Always a highlight in the Chifundo, our annual Golf Clasic is back, with a Covid-friendly format. Your continued support is welcomed. As you are all aware, now more than ever the children need our renewed support. Every effort on the day will be made to facilitate social distancing & all other relevant guidelines to best ensure the health & safety of all involved.
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations as it is a limited field and can only be reserved through John. Or, you can text 087 2360622.
With effect on April 1st, the Board of Directors, in consultation with the Trust in Zomba have enacted a COVID 19 Support Plan. This supprt plan is targeted at providing the children of Chifundo & their families with some basic essentials like supplies of food, cleaning & hygiene products as well as some personal protective masks to wear during this ongoing pandemic.
Each family will receive a monthly support package (for further details on this package please see below) that equated to a value of €50 per family which equates to €3,500.00 per month. We will continue to monitor the situation taking onboard the advice of the Trust in Zomba.
Please click the PayPal button below to support. Continue reading below for further information!
A Letter to our Donors
Thank you for your support over all the years. With confidence but with heavy hearts we send you this appeal for help in the midst of what is for all of us a very strange time.
For almost 15 years our work has provided the very best education opportunity for now 70 children in Zomba, Malawi. This includes their nutritional needs as well as school fees, uniforms, transport, extra-curricular activities etc. This has been a very enjoyable challenge thanks to the support of our many friends of Chifundo, like you.
Normally we depend on regular fundraising activities during the year, however since the Corona Virus struck, already five events have been cancelled, depleting our resources.
Suddenly, all is changed; the virus which is having a serious impact on all of us is having a devastating impact on these children and their families in Zomba. Instead of transporting them to school and providing all the necessary supports we are now faced with the reality of having them locked down in their home villages with nothing. Families who are locked down in their homes and not allowed travel to the local village to trade, scavenge or barter for their basic survival needs, will starve. Like us they are meant to social distance, which is virtually impossible for them.
In consultation with our local Trust in Zomba, and our Board of Directors here, we have decided from the beginning of April to impliment a Covid 19 Support Plan to include the families of all the children. This includes giving each family a bag of maize, a small bucket of dried fish, 4 kg of Beans, cooking oil, table salt, sugar and other nutritional foods every month to help them in their struggle to stay alive. Further to this additional support, we have also included basic hygiene requirements such as sanitisers, soaps, a bucket per house to draw water from the local stream or well, masks, etc. Our tailoring teacher is already in the Campus workshop making masks from a pattern which we emailed to them earlier.
Inspired by your generosity in the past and the contribution of our work together to educate some of the poorest of the poor to achieve their full potential, we invite you to contribute towards this special appeal and again work together to….Change a Future….
Some suggestions on how to help are shown below.
Thanks and best wishes for your health and safety.
From all at Chifundo.
Our extra Covid 19 commitment in Zomba from the 1st April is:
To help protect the lives and safety of our children and their families in the poorest of environments during the Pandemic we have committed a monthly support fund extending to each home of our 70 children:
1 Bag of Maize
Small bucket of dried fish.
4 kg Beans
Cooking oil, table salt, Sugar.
Other nutrional foods .
Large bucket to fetch water and provide washing point in home.
Soaps and cleansers
Masks. Our tailor has started making them in the Campus.
Many of these families live for their daily bread.
Have you made some savings?
Monthly petrol bill!
Daily Coffees/ scones etc.!
Visit to Barber or Hairdresser!
Bus or Rail Travel!
Refund from Health Insurers!
Children’s sports activities!
Personal trainer or Joe Wicks!
Occasional meal out!
Visits to the Pub!
Golf competition fees!
There must be more….
How you can help?
Our additional outlay in Euro is €50 per family x 70. This is €3,500 each month. We would welcome your support for our often forgotten people at such a sad time
Pope Francis in a video message for Holy Week said that what is needed today is some ‘Creative Love’, without elaborating he states: “Even if we are isolated, thought and spirit can go far with the creativity of love. This is what we need today: the creativity of love. This is what is needed today: the creativity of love”. At a time like this when we ourselves are so vulnerable it is difficult to comprehend how our friends in Zomba, Malawi, whose lives are full of vulnerability at all times may be coping.
We hope and pray that their normal resilience prevails. Communication is difficult and we await an update from them since the announcements of their first 3 cases.
We continue to fund all their education and nutritional needs and maintain the Campus as a place of creativity for our 70 students. (Gatherings of up to 100 are still allowed there). These Easter weeks will, we hope see the Craft workshops for tailoring and carpentry continue, the library will be open and IT and other creative activities will happen.
Our big challenge is that as with most other outreach groups much of our fund raising events are cancelled and we will be stretched. Any contribution through this web or directly will be greatly appreciated.
However, not much can be done in the short term as we accept the challenges before us. What we must reflect on and be open to, is how each of us cancreatively support the project as we recover from this Virus here, and ensure that our project to educate the poorest of the poor to achieve their full potential continues.
May we say a special thank you to the many of you who have expressed your good wishes and offers of support into the future. Also, you who contribute regularly to the support of all.
We express our sincere thanks to GeoScan Subsurface Surveys Inc. & Xradar BC Inc. The Vancouver based companies have come together and approximately 14 members of staff will be taking part in the BMO Vancouver Marathon on the 3rd of May to raise funds for Chifundo.
The team are well into preparations for the marathon with each participant taking a distance to challenge themselves. Distances vary from the full-marathon, to half, to team relays where 4 members contribute to the full-marathon distance together.