I am very excited to start working as a mentor to a young lad in Malawi named Goodson Jamu. Goodson is a student at the newly built library in the village of Kadzakalowa. Below is a little bit of press from the recent opening.
"Kapalua Cove Foundation and Village Book Builders are thrilled to announce the completion of a new library in Kadzakalowa, Malawi. A joint effort in partnership with the community of Kadzakalowa, the library will benefit 2,500 school-age children from six villages with educational and inspirational resources, in addition to serving as a local community center."
In April, 2019, newly-launched Kapalua Cove Foundation awarded its first charitable donation to Village Book Builders. The funds were earmarked for the Malawi Literacy Project, with plans to build a library in one of the poorest nations in the world. As with all Village Book Builders’ literacy projects, the Kadzakalowa community was offered a hand up, rather than a hand out—community members were expected to donate labor as their contribution to the project. In addition, villagers provided bricks and sand—a herculean feat in this impoverished region.
I am very happy and proud to be a small part of this huge effort. I will be working with Village Book Builders who do the matching of students and mentors and give a LOT of guidance and support. They are truly great folks!
Update June 9, 2022
The schools are all closed for a holiday in Malawi, so there will be no mentoring sessions until the 21st of June. Please check back after that for another update from Africa!! Meanwhile, here is the last session I did.
Well, after 3 straight weeks of terrific sessions, we have hit another rough spot. Goodson could not make it the last 2 weeks, so I have asked them to just give me another student to talk to. Last week I had Hopeson and yesterday it was Samson, both 16 years old. It is very interesting to me the different reading and speaking abilities among the students when they all have basically the same background and education. Hopeson was a very good reader and had a huge laugh. Samson struggled through the reading assignment but kept trying to sound out unfamiliar words as best he could. I think they both got a lot out of our sessions and definitely felt challenged!!
Now, they are going on school break over in Malawi, so there will be no mentoring until the 19th of this month. It's too bad, really. I get as much out of these sessions as the kids do I think. It's an energy that I carry with me throughout the day and that's for sure!
I will continue to fill this page with news from Malawi so come on back!!!!
In out training we are warned not to ask about two things specifically. The first is food, as in "what did you have to eat today?" The answer may very well be nothing or very little. It's fine to ask WHAT they like. Second is asking about family members. HIV/AIDS has ravaged the country, and there are a lot of single family homes or even orphans living alone in the family home after the adults have all died.
My first mentee was a young girl of seven. I asked her how far she has to walk to get to school (5km one way) and what kinds of things she saw along the way. She told me her family has 7 chickens, something that prompted a very big smile. I asked her what she wants to be when she grows up and she told me a teacher, and she would like to go to America to study.
The sad truth about these beautiful girls is that they are more likely to have two children before the age of 20 than not. It is much more likely that they will be pulled out of school to help support the family or there is not enough money to cover uniforms. That's right... education is free to all children in Malawi, but being available and being attainable are two very different things. Tuition is free, but books, supplies and uniforms are not. In a nation where the average person lives on just S1 day, even $5 for books and such is overwhelming.
There is a group called AGE Africa that is doing great work on keeping girls in school and giving scholarships to those in need, which is most of them. They are very active in Malawi as is the UNICEF K.I.N.D. program that buys something as simple as desks for school kids who otherwise sit on dirt floors. This simple thing is life changing. Please look into these organizations and help if you can. Help is very much needed and very much appreciated.
If you would like to help a young girl in Malawi stay in school, please go to www.ageafrica.com. There you will learn that for $35 you can buy her a uniform, $50 buys her school supplies for ONE YEAR! By giving up a few lattes a week, you can completely alter a young girls life in a very positive way.
If you would like to learn more about Village Book Builders and the great work they are doing, go to www.villagebookbuilders.com. After seeing what they are all about, maybe you will feel the call to mentoring like I did. Believe me, it hit me like a bolt from the blue when I saw how I could help a lot and make a very real difference where it will count. Think about it.
The links below go directly to their sites. This site is in no way compensated.
GOODSON JAMU'S PAGE