Spring 2018 in Malawi

Odi odi!
It’s been a busy year and although there has been plenty of Kenyawi Kids action, I have had my hands full with someone else and returning to teaching full time in January has taken everything up another gear., so apologies for the silence- I have been channeling all my energy in to supporting our project partners from afar!
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I have even greater respect for Godknows and Hellen with their 60+ kids in Malawi- one is quite enough to keep me on my toes now!

I had the pleasure of getting back to Malawi with my new family courtesy of a Buy Malawian Scotland Malawi Partnership competition that baby Jack helped us win back in the spring. Having not been in Malawi since April 2016 due to the arrival of my bouncing (literally) baby boy, this was the longest period I had spent away from the projects since I first arrived in Malawi in 2005.

I was bursting with pride in all our project partners achievements since my visit- read on for more!

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Chembe Projects was our first stop on our trip and I spent my first day working with Mike and our painter to establish the shiny new projects office. The office is now situated within the Gecko Lounge grounds at Cape Maclear right as you come in the gate and it is hoped that it’s new location will encourage tourists staying at the lodge and coming to eat the famous Gecko pizzas to support the great work our project centre does, in collaboration with Gecko who fund the salaries of the project staff (Water staff, teachers at Chembe Child and Mike our Project Manager).

The water project has just undergone a huge overhaul at phase 1 which has two large tap blocks and experience huge traffic twice a day of eager water collectors. The tap block had all but collapsed due to daily use by hundreds of buckets and I was delighted when my Project Trust partner Abby (who I originally worked with at Yamikani House with on my gap year) decided to ask for donations for her wedding back in June. She chose the phrase “madzi a anthu” meaning ‘water for all’ to be written on her behalf. Lovely gesture from my oldest Malawi friend!
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Our next job was to replace the water filters in phase one and phase two- these came from the UK and I was delighted so many people donated in February 2018 for my 30th birthday (thankyou!!) and we were able to buy 4 filters and 2 UV lamp bulbs and Sharon Hayward my former Glasgow head teacher took them over to Mike for me.

Catch the Fish  are going from strength to strength and now have a large group of children that they are supporting to learn creative skills. Shakespeare has managed to increase the number of children he works with from 3 to over 10 on a regular basis. I bought and brought some of their artwork back to Scotland and have had it professionally framed- it looks fantastic. There are 5 numbered pieces currently available at £25 each- to order simply email kenyawikidsinfo@gmail.com

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Yamikani House has undergone a huge physical update. Shaheena the new director has demolished walls to open up the living space for the children, creating a lovely welcoming entrance hall and the boys bedrooms have gone from three to two much more spacious, airy rooms. I am so pleased Yamikani House have found additional funding sources and are becoming more independent of Kenyawi Kids although the children of Yamikani House will always have a special place in me. After all, they are the reason I run Kenyawi Kids today!
Chrispine who you have heard a lot about, now 25 years old and is graduating from the Malawi Institute of Tourism in May 2018- so chuffed for him! He was on placement with a travel company in Lilongwe but luckily started just after we left Blantyre so he managed to meet his nephew Jack! We are grateful for Yokermill Medical Practice’s sponsorship of Chrispine, as is he!

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STEKA are making full use of the solar water pump at the home. It is running at capacity with over 60 children requiring bathed, fed and clothes cleaned daily. Godknows is very pleased with the installation and the quality of materials meaning he does not need to stress over water bills anymore- one less worry!

Step Kids Awareness (STEKA) has been closely supported by Kenyawi Kids since 2011. We have worked in partnership with Godknows and Hellen to build a purpose built house in Nyambadwe disctrict of Blantyre where we originally intended to limit the home to 40 children to enable Godknows and Hellen to maintain a family rather than institution orientated environment but in 2017 they have an ever growing family of 64 children who have been orphaned, abandoned and abused on the streets. Of all our projects, this house really does feel like home! We have continued to work on sustainable ways to reduce the cost of raising so many children in the home. Some examples of our projects are: purchase of land for house build, installation of solar panels on the roof, water tanks and towers for reserves, land purchase for a vocational skills centre,and this year- a solar powered groundwater pump. The every growing family at STEKA means increased costs and Kenyawi Kids are committed to supporting Godknows and Hellen to maintain their wonderful Maseko family.

The STEKA nursery extension is well under way and is looking great. The space has doubled meaning that in rainy season the children are not so crammed in and in hot season they have plenty of shade-win win for all! Painting is underway now but the structure is complete. A special thanks for Mercers for funding this project through Kenyawi Kids!

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