Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Start of the new school year approaches

December 2009: The new school year is about to start and so Chimwemwe is working hard to get shelter and uniforms to the children so that they can start the new term on time. Any assistance with this is greatly welcomed.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

A bicycle solves Transport Problems

November 2009: Chimwemwe transport problems are over, thanks to a donation made by Amanda Fleet from St Andrews, Scotland.

Since January 2009, Macdonald Nkhutabasa, the only full time worker for the programme, has been walking long distances meeting children and their families. There are many children who come onto the streets of Blantyre to beg for food, money and clothes. Chimwemwe supports these children to access education by providing them with learning materials. Most of the children living on the streets come from communities surrounding Blantyre city, the commercial capital of Malawi.

Working with children on the streets is very important to their lives, but it is more ideal to work with children before they end up on the streets. Chimwemwe focuses on dealing with causes rather than symptoms of the problems faced by children.
Currently, Chimwemwe is working in Ndirande, Mbayani, Bangwe, Chilobwe, Zingwangwa and Soche. Community’s leaders from these communities, through the support from Chimwemwe, have formed committees to support orphans and other vulnerable children. Macdonald conducts follow up visits to these places to see how they are functioning, monitoring and evaluating impact.
Reaching the communities was both tiring, expensive and time-consuming until the organization got a bicycle from Amanda, the project’s ambassador in the United Kingdom.
“Life was hard, I had to cover over 50 kilometers each day to supervise how the communities were fairing. This was very difficult and time consuming until we got this precious gift. Our life will now be a lot easier”. Macdonald says.
Chimwemwe is expecting to enroll over 30 children back in school at the start of new term in December.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Football makes a difference

November 2009: Children in Malawi love football. It is a national sport. Someone does not need to be rich in order to play football. Children will do whatever they can just to be able to play this game. To have a proper ball is not easy for the children who cannot even afford to buy lunch worth K50 (less than 50p in the UK). Many children collect plastic bags to make a ball just to have fun. Many street children can name English football players by heart; they know Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba, David Beckham and many more.
Chimwemwe got its first proper footballs in 2009. Within a week, the children had set up their own rules on how the football should be used. It was very fascinating to hear one of the boys, Noel saying:
“This football should only be played in the afternoon after school. No children who do not go to school should be allowed to play”.

The new footballs are not just for games; Chimwemwe uses them to build relationships among the children themselves and also with other people they interact with. Macdonald takes a ball when reaching out to the children and invites them to play if they want.
Chimwemwe is using this opportunity to teach children discipline. Children are learning football rules, the power of team work, and also caring for one another, especially if one in injured while playing the game. Each and every time before the game, children are asked to say some rules of the game and how they can apply the rules in their everyday lives.
Apart from encouraging children to return back to school, the football is also helping to keep the children physically fit.
Chimwemwe is using football to reach over 5 communities. The long-term plan is to have football teams in all the communities the organization is working with. It is expected that by the middle of next year, Chimwemwe will join the Blantyre youth football league. This will help the children to develop their self-esteem through interacting with other children.

Friday, 9 October 2009 is up and running!

October 2009: Thanks to the kind and generous gift of this site from PureIT, Chimwemwe Children's centre now has a website. Amanda has been working hard to get all the information up here. We hope that you will enjoy browsing through all the pages.