John and Elaine have returned from their adventure in Malawi and are over the moon with the progress that is being made on both the education project, and the rapidly developing Chifundo Learning Centre project!
The trip which lasted ten days including travel incorporated several planning sessions in
relation to the next stages of the Learning Centre project as well as visits to the current Chifundo students at their homes and schools. Each year it becomes more and more challenging to try to meet all the children during the trip, John and Elaine managed to meet and spend time with 39 of the forty children currently enrolled in the programme which is a great result.
Enthusiasm for the project and activity on the ground in Zomba is at an all-time high, with two resources – Lucy and Zinnenani – now employed to ensure that the Chifundo kids are getting the most out of their education. In parallel, the Chifundo Trust in Zomba, having successfully completed the initial project steps of acquiring a piece of land, clearing it, and erecting a wall to secure the perimeter, are now busy finalizing the design of the Learning Centre building and fit-out.
A large part of the land that the Center is being built on is made up of excellent quality, well-irrigated soil. Earlier this year, three parents of Chifundo students attended a five week crop farming programme kindly hosted by Wells for Zoe. These volunteers have already begun working the land at the Chifundo Centre and crops are already growing aplenty. (To read more about this programme please read the previous blog post here). Additionally, some chickens are now resident in the Chifundo Centre and it is projected that they should yield enough eggs to supply all of the Chifundo kids’ school lunches in future!
Elaine’s first Trip to Malawi
While this excursion marked John’s fifth trip to Malawi, this was Elaine’s very first journey there. An experienced world traveler, Elaine is a founder member of Chifundo and has been deeply involved in the Foundation’s development. Elaine relished the opportunity to see the development for herself and while she had already met some of the key members of the Chifundo Trust, she had never met any of the children or seen the schools.
John and Elaine Cogavin of Chifundo Foundation in Ireland are traveling to Malawi this May in order to work with the team there on the next steps in the development of the Chifundo Learning Centre!
2013 saw a great deal of progress in relation to the project, which will serve to create a central location in the townland of Zomba for the Chifundo students to congregate, study, paricipate in workshops and play. Chifundo has acquired a suitable piece of land and has constructed a secure wall around the perimeter. The next stages – to install electricity and running water, to construct the main building and to adapt the land to allow for play areas as well as areas for vegetable farming and the keeping of live-stock.
While this will be John’s fifth journey to Malawi on behalf of Chifundo, it is Elaine’s first trip there. Elaine is really looking forward to meeting the adults that manage and the children that participate in the Chifundo programme. Elaine knows many of these people well from a distance and cannot wait to start meaningfully developing these friendships during her visit.
While there, John and Elaine will have time to visit the students at their schools and in many cases will also see them at their homes. Traditionally, on these field trips, we bring a gift to each of the children – usually a small toy or game suitable for each child’s age. Elaine has always sourced, wrapped and packed these gifts – now its her turn to deliver them in person!
We wish John and Elaine all the very best with their upcoming trip!
Pic: Elaine arranging and wrapping gifts for the Chifundo children ahead of a previous trip.
Pic: The Wall around the perimeter under construction (now complete)
Chifundo Foundation is delighted to announce that three of its local team in Zomba have traveled to Northern Malawi to participate in a programme offered by Wells for Zoë (www.wellsfoezoe.org).
The programme, which provides invaluable information and experience in relation to the farming of crops suitable for Malawi’s climate and terrain will take place over 5 weeks on the Lusangazi farm in Mzuzu, Malawi.
Wells for Zoë is an excellent Irish charity based mainly in Northern Malawi and focused on enabling the rural poor to access clean, safe, drinking water. It also does great work with women’s self-help clusters which includes conservation farming. We at Chifundo are delighted to be aligned with Wells for Zoë and are very grateful for this opportunity which they have generously offered to us.
The programme will give training on the best crops to grow and how to go about sourcing them. Additionally, there will be training on how to grow plants that provide the basis for fertiliser and pest-control on a natural and native basis. Wells for Zoë will also allow the participants return with some citrus fruit crop seedlings to plant back in Zomba. The participants will return with a great deal of knowledge and confidence in relation to sustainable crop farming techniques which will be engendered in our educational and nutritional programmes.
The three particpants from Chifundo are parents of children that are currently receiving education through Chifundo: Don Mankhokwe (father of Shadreck Mankhokwe), Lusungu Ndovi, mother of Glory Disi), and Zione Khomera (mother of Emily Musa). We wish them all the best on their trip to Mzuzu.
Some of DIT’s Erasmus students ran a fundraising event on January 22nd in DIT’s Cathal Brugha Street restaurant in aid of Chifundo.
Students from fifteen countries laid out their tables with their native food prepared by themselves together with maps and flags of their country. They came from as far afield as India, South America, South Korea, and Hong Kong and many European countries. The place was packed with all nationalities which made for rich sharing on their various cultures, their subjects of study and their experience living in Dublin.
The event was a great success and enjoyed by all. Our sincere thanks to Juan Carlos, Barbara, Filip and Francois for all the work that went into organising the event!
This initiative forms part of the students’ social entrepreneurship module which was introduced by Professor Tom Cooney of DIT.
Some of DIT’s Erasmus students are arranging a fundraising event in aid of Chifundo as part of their social entrepreneurship module which was introduced by Professor Tom Cooney of DIT. The event will see many of the university’s foreign student’s showcasing their national ethnic cuisines in a night of food, music in DIT’s Cathal Brugha Street buildings. Entry to the event is €5 with all proceeds going to Chifundo. Our sincere thanks organising and participating in the event.
Wishing all our Chifundo supporters a very Happy New Year in 2014! Keep an eye on the Chifundo Foundation website in 2014, for the latest news on upcoming events and on the Learning Centre Development throughout the year.
We have new blog contributors ready to keep you updated!
We have just received confirmation that the Christmas gifts for the 40 Chifundo Students have safely arrived in Zomba in good time.
The Photograph above shows two Mrs Cogavins Elaine and Jen(hidden by hair) busy wrapping the gifts in early November. The children who are all progressing very well in their schools now range in age from 5 to 12.
The five new entrants who joined the programme at start of term are making great progress ! This brings to forty the total number of students now catered for. September 2014 will see our first student Chisomo progress to secondary school after 8 years.