I was incredibly privileged to travel to Malawi at the start of April with a group of volunteers from Cisco (a worldwide leader in IT and networking) and their families. It was such an amazing group to be a part of, with people from all over the world and all walks of life from someone who was born and raised in Malawi (now residing in the UK) to a family from Spain with their two beautiful children (7 & 9 years old) who now have memories they will never forget!
We spent a week volunteering our time on a number of different projects with Fisherman’s Rest (one of our NGO partners in Malawi). This included the Phala programme (providing porridge to school children), Chick, Chick programme (providing chickens at schools and teaching children how to care, raise and benefit from them) and mostly the Madzi Alipo (meaning ‘water is here’) programme which encompasses a range of aspects from an app that stores data on borehole pumps to teaching children in schools about the parts and maintenance of borehole pumps.
Teaching the kids runs on a much deeper level than just naming the parts of a pump – it’s a science lesson, an insight into engineering and mechanics, all of which can spark an interest in these young minds for the future (and I can tell you there were a lot of students who showed a huge amount of interest!). It was great to see them captivated all day and excited to learn. They all received certificates at the end of the day, a prized possession for a lot of them now.
I really need to make a special mention of the amazing team at Fisherman’s Rest that carry out this important work every day! They all have an infectious, positive attitude for the projects they are involved in. Especially in the schools, the way they interact with the kids and teach and inspire them, it was so great to witness first-hand.
Fisherman’s Rest employ’s over 130 staff, most of them local Malawians, and an amazing flow on effect from this was that a lot of these people are now employing staff to run their own small businesses or for childcare. I was really encouraged by this.
I really can’t say enough good things about the staff at Fisherman’s Rest and how they have enhanced my trip and I’m sure the trips of many before me, let alone the lives they are changing every day through all their important work and projects. Keep it up dream team!
Here’s a short video by my boyfriend Mike who has really captured the essence of this inspiring trip.