Report by Catriona Bradley
In June of this year, 13 pupils and two teachers from Lenzie Academy travelled to the Mulanje region in the south of Malawi. Whilst we were there, we visited lots of community projects and met many new people. It was an incredible experience and one that we will never forget.
On our first day, we visited a camp for disabled children and their carers. There were around 200 children at the camp and it was wonderful to meet so many new people. The camp had been set up as a place for members of the community with a disability to come together and meet others in a similar situation to them. Due to a stigma surrounding disability in Malawi, disabled children and adults have unfortunately been shut away from the outside world for generations. This camp was therefore set up a couple of years ago because many people felt too ashamed to go out in public with their disabled children and so the children were then often locked away as a result. Visiting the camp was a really special experience for us and it was wonderful to see the amazing work that our donations contributed to. During our time in Malawi, we also visited many community projects such as the ‘Girls Go for Health Campaign’ and family-run farms that had been set up. One of our favourite activities that we were involved in was painting the alphabet onto the wall of the now newly-opened Mendulo Nusery which our fundraising has helped to build. Whilst in Malawi, we also visited the female inmates at Chichiri Prison in Blantyre which was an incredible experience. The women were so friendly and we spent a few hours singing and dancing with them which was loads of fun! We were also lucky enough to visit Mulanje Mission Hospital and learn about the wonderful work they do there and about some of the common health problems that many people in Malawi face such as HIV and Malaria. This was a truly eye-opening experience as the issues relating to health in Malawi were really put into perspective for us.
We also spent a few days with our partner school, Nansomba Secondary School where we taught lessons on the UN, played netball with the girls and football with the boys and were also involved in the painting of classrooms. All of the pupils and staff at Nansomba were very friendly and welcoming and we were very sad to leave after the three days. Furthermore, we spent a day at the local Primary school were we had a sports day and taught lessons on fractions and the importance of oral hygiene. There were around a hundred children in each class and unfortunately there were no chairs or desks so they all just sat on the floor in very dark, dirty rooms. The children were all very cheerful and we had a lovely day with them.
Everywhere we went in Malawi, everyone was so friendly and welcoming and it really made the experience all the more enjoyable. We had a wonderful time in Malawi, it truly was an incredible experience. We met hundreds of new people and experienced lots of new things. We are so grateful that we had this amazing opportunity and it was so special seeing the impact that we and the wider community of Lenzie Academy had made on the lives of all these inspirational people.