ACF USA engagement in Malawi has revealed two very ripe opportunities for cross-generational impact among the Yao people.
The first opportunity is at a village called Chiponde. Our ministry partners, Calvary Ministry (CAPRO), recently established a primary school for kids in this village. The kids cannot make the trek to the school at a neighboring village especially during the October to March rainy season when the only road leading to the school becomes impassable. This CAPRO school, which now enrolls over 250 students in Grades 1 to 4, meets in a thatched structure with no desks or chairs (see picture in set). The pupils sit on the floor to receive instruction from the CAPRO Missionary who runs the school.
With the leadership of CAPRO in Malawi, we sense that God is presenting an opportunity for us to invest in the lives of these kids by expanding, scaling up and massively upgrading these initial education interventions. We hope to develop these facilities at Chiponde to provide a full educational experience through Grade 8 for the pupils.
Chiponde is a hauntingly beautiful location surrounded by mountains and lakes just a few miles from the border with Mozambique. We envisage a boarding High School emerging out of the Chiponde highlands to serve generations of Yao children and possibly kids from other communities across the Southern Africa region. This facility will ultimately offer us a unique K-12 opportunity to nurture generations of Yao kids who will become leaders and pillars of influence in their land.
A second opportunity is the upgrading of the Chisomo Day Care in Mangochi by building out the infrastructure. CAPRO has operated this daycare facility for orphans and children within the Mangochi community for about a decade. The center currently serves 40 - 50 kindergarten to pre-school age children. These are children who have lost one or both parents for various reasons, particularly the aids epidemic that is still ravaging this part of the world. During our second visit to Malawi in 2018 the team made a decision to provide intervention for the school. At the time of our visit there was no furniture at the center, and we were informed that the center was no longer able to prvide dialy meals to the children due to dwindling support. Upon the recommendation of our team the African Christian Fellowship Midwest Region Board agreed to provide funds to cover the full cost of the furniture and ongoing feeding support for the children at the daycare. The center now has a full set of wooden desks and chairs so that the children no longer have to sit on the floor. There is still much to be done with regard to providing them with staff and teaching materials.
The first phase of our school project will include upgrading the Chisomo Day Care in Mangochi by building out the infrastructure to accomodate more children and staff. It will also so incluce replacing the current thatched facility at Chioponde with a block of at least five new classrooms, toilet facilities, a staff/administration building and living quarters for the head teacher. The classroom block will be furnished with basic furniture and readily available simple solar energy solutions.
Subsequently we hope to fully develop the school at Chiponde by adding four more classroom blocks each with five instructionsla rooms, furnished with basic furniture, fully staffed and with full compliments of teaching aids.
The total investment required to complete this project is currently estimated at $250,000 (Two hundred and fifty thousand US Dollars). We have adopted this as our our “Nehemiah Project” to be executed over a five year period.
We fully recognize that this is quite an ambitious undertaking considering the realities of our current financial position. However, we cannot afford to be less ambitious, or aim any lower. The Yao children of Malawi deserve our taking bold steps, and we are confident that we are well able to accomplish, and just maybe, surpass this seemingly audacious undertaking. WITH GOD'S HELP!
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