Making a difference in Malawi
In 2016, a team of Touchstone volunteers, together with Habitat for Humanity GB, went to Chimombo in Malawi to help build homes. That was the start of a partnership that saw three volunteer teams go to Chimombo, an experience they will never forget.
John Midgley, former director at Touchstone was on each build and has remained close to the people of Chimombo. Alongside building homes, and with John’s support, we helped fund the local children’s nursery there. Five years on, the nursery continues to be really successful, now with over 250 pupils – at the time we thought there would be about 80!
John Midgley gives us the latest from Chimombo:
“The nursery has just closed for the month long big holiday which covers the time between the dry and the wet season. Pupils will return in January but, because it is the end of the dry season, there is a food shortage in the area and I have agreed with the village chief that we will continue the food programme over the holiday period by giving pupils soya flour to make into porridge.
52 children have just graduated and will start primary school in January. One of the things which often causes poor attendance at school is that families don’t have the resources to buy school uniform and writing materials so I have agreed that all these 52 children will be provided with school uniform, exercise books and pencils out of nursery funds.
Wise Balakasi (who represents the community) says that there are three main factors which make the nursery school so popular. Quality education, free porridge and a great learning environment. Since the nursery was built the absenteeism and drop out rates in the adjacent school have dropped significantly, especially amongst teenage girls which is a real result.”
We’re so proud to see that our contribution, as well as John Midgley’s tireless support, is creating a long term legacy of improvement and increased opportunities for the children of Chimombo.