May 26, 2015

The Bright Spots of Malawi's Future

Meet the up-and-coming leaders of Malawi.
Meet the up-and-coming leaders of Malawi.

Every year, a new class of Dreamers joins the AGHCA family and inspires us more than we thought possible. These bright spots in Malawi - young, budding leaders who aspire to pursue their dreams - bring a wealth of passion and innovation to improving their communities. This year, we welcomed 24 new students from Chancellor College and Domasi College of Education into the Students With Dreams (SWD) program.

The Dreamers attended a two-day orientation at Namingazi Training Lodge in Zomba in mid-March, where they received training in project design, project implementation, time management, proposal writing and collaborative brainstorming. They wasted no time after the training to get their initiatives off the ground.

We'd like to share the spotlight on a few of our Dreamers this year: Tumeliwa, Madalo, and (the aptly named) Bright!

Dreamer Spotlight

Inspired by the knowledge gap in education systems regarding the needs of students living with albinism, Tumeliwa, a fourth-year student at Chancellor College, initiated the project, "Front Seat." One challenge individuals with albinism face is poor eye-sight, requiring them to sit in the front rows of their lecture rooms. However, many teachers and fellow students are not aware of these special needs. As one living with albinism, Tumeliwa has taken the metaphorical front seat in the drive to improve learning environments for students with albinism.

As a third-year Law student at Chancellor, Madalo is committed to "writing wrongs." She and her team have appealed to the pen to provide young writers with a platform to engage in social issues through short stories. The project, called "Loud Ink," will be a creative publication from young people, writing about the wrongs that they see in society.

Bright is a fourth-year educator-in-training at the Domasi College of Education. Bright's dream is to provide affordable and sustainable services and education concerning female reproductive health. He works in secondary schools where myths concerning menstruation and female health predominate and negatively impact affects learners' development and health, and the lack of sanitary pads cause girls to be absent from school every month. Playing on the words "sanitation" and "hygiene," his project is called "San-Gien."

Keeping the Dreams Alive

These projects would not be possible without your support - and we need your help to raise the rest of the money for their projects. In the coming months, the student leaders will attend in-depth trainings in fundraising, monitoring and evaluation, and communications. We look forward to sharing more updates on their progress in building their leadership skills and making positive impacts on their communities.

Thank you for your ongoing support!

From L to R: Tumeliwa, Madalo, Bright
From L to R: Tumeliwa, Madalo, Bright
Dreamers participate in team-building activities.
Dreamers participate in team-building activities.
Feb 25, 2015

Introducing the Students With Dreams Mentors!

The mentors, ready to tackle their work!
The mentors, ready to tackle their work!

We’re excited to introduce our new mentors for Chancellor College and Domasi College of Education: Frank, Faless, Macpherson and Francis!

Mentors work with project leaders in the development and implementation of the projects and serve as liaisons between AGHCA staff and Dreamers at each Students With Dreams (SWD) site. We have an amazing team this year, who will help with recruitment, selection and mentoring throughout the year, until the Class of 2015 Dreamers graduate.

Our four mentors attended an intensive, two-day training workshop in January at our office in Zomba. The workshop provided mentors with training in facilitation skills, tips for getting organized and tools for effective time management. The training included impromptu facilitation exercises discussing issues that emerged in previous years of the SWD program.

Read on to learn more about these inspiring leaders!

Frank is a 4th year student at Domasi College of Education pursuing a Bachelors degree in Primary Education. He is the President for all serving teachers at the college. He was also one of the team leaders for “DCE – Litter-Free Zone,” a SWD Project in 2014. His ambition is to extend his project to all schools in the country and change the name to: “Malawi Schools – Litter-Free Zone.” He likes exploring new ideas and is interested in changing the livelihood of the youths in Malawi. As part of pursuing his dreams, he became a mentor in order to assist project leaders as they implement their projects at the college or in the community. Frank believes that, “SWD is a leadership program that can affect Malawi in the long term, as the skills learnt by the Dreamers will be applied in different ways and to different parts of this country.”

Faless is a recent graduate of the University of Malawi, Chancellor College. Her first real dream when she was 14 was to study Economics so she could improve the social and economic status of Malawi. In her final year of college, Faless spearheaded a youth empowerment project, Tsogolo Latho Rhythm. The project aimed to motivate the youths in secondary schools to dream of a better future for themselves and the country of Malawi. Faless is currently working on her first book. She is excited to be a mentor because the SWD program “gives us the opportunity to not only impact the community around us, but show other youths that it is possible to be a positive change in our community.”

Macpherson is a final year Fine Arts student at Chancellor College. He is a practicing artist, an executive member of the Chanco Fine Arts Association, and a member of the Visual Arts Association of Malawi. His biggest achievement is the founding of a local Online Art Gallery called Zaluso.com, which he accomplished through the SWD program. He hopes to help Malawians make a living off art. When asked about his biggest fear, he pointed out that fear itself is his biggest fear. He has an artistic eye and positive attitude towards all things – and he is a perfectionist! As a final year student, he hopes the professional experience provided through the mentor position will help him improve his employment opportunities in the future.

“Students with Dreams trains the right type of people to lead in Malawi,” says Francis, a fourth year Bachelor of Education primary student at Domasi College of Education, where he is President of the Student Union. “I am confident that everyone who undergoes the program could make an impact wherever they choose to go.” Frank was one of the team leaders of the SWD project, "DCE - Litter-Free Zone." He comes from Machinga District in the eastern region of Malawi. He currently serves as a primary school teacher and has served as a school head. In his free time, he likes to play volleyball.

Thanks to these wonderful mentors’ help, we completed the applications review and selection process at Domasi College of Education (DCE) last week. This year, 14 new Dreamers at DCE will work on projects addressing a variety of issues, including reducing absenteeism in local schools, empowering teen mothers, and providing proper sanitation and hygiene education to young students.

The information session at Chancellor College, held early February, was also a great success. Around 50 students attended the session to learn about the SWD program and how to apply. We just closed applications and will begin the selection process for the Chancellor College SWD program this week. We look forward to sharing the bios of our biggest cohort of Dreamers yet!

Trainings at AGHCA are always fun.
Trainings at AGHCA are always fun.
Recruiting future Dreamers at Chancellor College.
Recruiting future Dreamers at Chancellor College.

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