Despite the Covid pandemic, which has affected us worldwide, we have managed to stay active and continued to do projects in exchange with our friends and partners in Malawi and Hanover. We thank everyone for their commitment and donations. We would also like to thank the public sponsors Engagement global GmbH, the city of Hanover and the Lower Saxony Bingo Environmental Foundation for their financial support.
Containers full of goods for building a trade school in Blantyre.
We have never shipped such a large container. Collecting has never been so complicated, the donations so exquisite, the hygiene measures so high, the processing so bureaucratic, the logistics so challenging, the transport Hanover - Blantyre so time-consuming.
We've done it all! Thanks to the great and solidary cooperation, the joint agreements, the flexibility, the patience and the willingness to keep looking for and finding solutions, thanks to the appreciation and interest of the donors and the shared joy when we come up against another hurdle that we had to overcome. The employment office of the city of Hanover in Hölderlinstr. functioned as a collection point and accepted numerous donations. Mayor Belit Oney visited us at Hölderlinstrasse on June 3rd, World Bicycle Day.
At this point I would like to thank not only the donors for the extensive donations, but also Aenne Meyer, Peter Waldburg and the "Tools for Africa" team of the Hanover City 1 Employment Promotion, Sophia Graefe, who helped during her internship to record the necessary information of the individual donations, Thomas Brien and the “Arbeit und Third World e.V.” team. in Hildesheim and the "Engagement global gGmbH" team for advice and the subsidy for transport costs. You all have contributed to the fact that we were able to send our container to Malawi on June 16, 2021, despite the Corona lockdown and all other conditions.
How it all began:
Since 2012 they have been friends with Marie da Silva, founder of the Jacaranda school, and Luc Dechamps, director of the Jacaranda Foundation, which also planned to set up a vocational school. We met for the first time at the Blantyre Arts Festival BAF. In 2019, Ralf Waselowsky and I were able to visit the building complex of the vocational school and meet the future headmaster Joe Khofi, who visited Hanover in 2017. In 2020, Luc Dechamps sent us a list of needs and we launched a fundraiser, which many people and organizations responded to. At the same time, we applied to Engagement global GmbH for a subsidy to cover transport costs, which was approved subjected to a number of conditions.
Arrive at Blantyre:
It was eagerly awaited and there was great joy when the container was opened - all donations reached their destination intact. Equipment for natural history and biology lessons, school supplies, books, barber chairs, gardening and carpentry tools, as well as workbenches, solar panels, keyboards and PCs for education, bicycles, sewing machines and many essential items can now is being used in the Jacaranda School, school libraries and the new Jacaranda Trade School. Other event equipments was also shared between the school and Jacaranda Cultural Center.
In her letter of thanks, Marie da Silva reports that surplus tools were made available to the prison to enable inmates to work with revised professional tools. The school passed on care beds, which we also sent to the hospitals in need and to the hospitals which works closely to cater the affected students in need.
Despite the many challenges, we plan to send another container to Malawi. The need for bicycles and safety helmets is very high.
Prioritizing education and protective measures before Celebration
We would have loved to have celebrated the restart of 2011, when artists from Blantyre came to Hanover for the first time. They accepted our invitation and presented the Blantyre Arts Festival BAF. We visited various institutions together with BAF founder Thom Chibambo and the trio Michael Mankhamba, Giddes Chalamanda and Agorosso. From the town hall, the IGS List, the pavilion, the Ballhof, the opera house, Janun, etc. Compounding on this, we have been able to gain many new partners in Blantyre and Hanover in recent years. The partnership experienced a new beginning for an intensive cultural exchange, in the field of education and mutual learning and for a sustainable global development cooperation.
But instead of a celebration, we used all our skills and possibilities to thank our partners in Chingalire, Blto support antyre and Makanjira in their activities.
Professional prospects for a better future
"After an unexpectedly turbulent 2020, the Institute for Leadership and Information Technology of Saint John Paul II had to overcome many challenges caused by the coronavirus crisis.
A close partnership has existed since Amanda
Badicke became a lecturer at the university in 2019. Together, the Friends of Malawi and the university are pursuing the goal of offering groups of people the opportunity to acquire one of the most sought-after certificates for the Microsoft Office product range in the national
This year two groups (in April and November) were able to complete the course. Almost 40 Malawians will be given the opportunity to take their future into their own hands. The university’s prestigious office certificate opens up many new job opportunities that the scholarship holders can benefit from.
The Friends of Malawi will continue to support some of the scholarship recipients, so we can look forward to seeing what professional opportunities the certificate will open for us.
Blantyre: Instead of a Blantyre Arts Festival BAF – Enlightenment
Thom Chibambo, director of the BAF, visited schools, informed teachers and handed out soap, water and masks. At the same time, he was looking for ways to empower young people to understand the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine. To do this, he used traditional dance, which plays a major role in Malawi, to draw attention to processes and social challenges.
Just as many cultural workers educated the public about Covid-19 and encouraged people to protect themselves, popular singer Giddes Chalamanda, 90, collaborated on a Covid awareness song and artist Tawonga Nkhonjera shot awareness videos.
Chingalire: a village with culture and education center
Popular singer Ben Michael Mankhamba and chief of Chingalire acted very quickly. He used his popularity to educate people in rural areas.
He rented a car and a speaker, bought soap and buckets of water, and had masks made. Well equipped, he drove with his team to the remote settlements, where he informed the population, who are difficult to reach, and at the same time provided them with soap and buckets of water.
Jacaranda School – IGS List partner school
The Jacaranda school, along with the other schools, faced great challenges. As a privately run school for AIDS affected orphans, however, they receive no public funding. They are particularly dependent on donations to continue to provide the students with education, food and essential medicines even during the lockdown.
A group of former students from the Jacaranda school sewed masks that were distributed to fellow students, teachers, the school team, all relatives, taxi, bus and moped drivers and the elderly residents. The sewing machines we donated in 2017 did a good job. Food packets were also distributed to those in need.
Instead of an encounter trip - virtual gala of the Jacaranda Foundation
The uncertainty about the possibility of physical encounters within the framework of development school partnerships and the burdens on everyone involved were too high, so that all planned encounters had to be postponed despite the financial commitments made by the ENSA school program.
In order to stay in touch, the IGS List participated with two projects at the public virtual gala of the Jacaranda Foundation. Since the annual gala is always associated with a call for donations, the students of the Jacaranda present their skills with great commitment and the IGS List participated with a self-produced documentary film about their lives, which was dedicated to the topic of nutrition and behavior during the pandemic.
The impact of the pandemic on women and girls in Malawi - an online workshop
Like many women in the Global South, women and girls in Malawi suffer the most from the consequences of poverty, environmental degradation and the climate crisis. The corona pandemic worsens their situation. To find out more, we invited two committed women from different generations from Blantyre, with whom we have been working for years, to an online workshop on International Women's Day:
Blantyre City MP Gertrude Chibambo and Solomonic Peacocks Theater activist and actor Lydia Deborah Banda, also co-founded the international flying girls initiative. We were able to win representatives from Violetta, a specialist counseling center for sexually abused girls and young women, as cooperation partners and experts from Hanover. The event was financially supported by the Department for Women and Equal Opportunities of the City of Hanover.
More than 20,000 girls have become pregnant unintentionally and/or married underage against their will during the “school-free” period during the lockdown. Further sexual assaults are feared. Their educational opportunities are steadily declining, despite the fact that the Malawi constitution has established equal rights for women and the legal age to geht married has been set to 18.
Violations of this are increasing, although the misogynistic rules that have been passed down are unconstitutional and were repealed with the participation of the "Law Commission". In 2015, the Malawian government passed the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act. A violation might lead to 10 years in prison. During the conversation it became clear that equal opportunities are a long way off when poverty, tradition and a culture that tolerates violence against women and girls and inappropriate educational and employment opportunities force girls into early marriage etc.
Gertrude Chirambo and Lydia Deborah Benda are involved in a variety of projects and campaigns to empower women and girls so that they can stand on their own feet and earn a living. At the same time, they stand up for the rights of girls and women. Gertrude built a community center to host regular meetings and training for women.
As a member of the aware & fair school club, Lydia visits schools, gives lectures and advises girls. She is proud that she is perceived as a role model. Gertrude uses her functions locally and nationally to continue to campaign for women's rights. They got to know each other in the workshop and agreed to continue working together.
We also continue to be in regular contact with Gertrude and Lydia to support women and girls on a regular basis. These talks will continue. The workshop can be seen at YouTube Women and Girls in Malawi.
Back to school - successful initiative of a girl from Blantyre
Many girls would like to continue going to school, but they can not afford the school fees. So does Prospellinah. Her single mother was no longer able to afford her daughter's school fees and living expenses. With Lydia's support, they reached Christina Mathis, who took care of their request. Together with Lydia and Christina we found a way to make Prospellinah fulfill this wish. With the help of the donations, the school fees can be paid and a contribution can be made to their livelihood. Lydia promises: "And to keep the project going, I will try to make sure that she gets good grades to show other affected girls a good path“.
The Taste of Malawi – the online cooking workshop
In September, the nationwide fair week, which is proclaimed annually by Fairtrade Germany e.V., took place. The city of Hanover and many other organizations are also taking part. Together with aware&fair e.V. and Barbara Olze, initiator and namesake of the interactive online cooking workshop "Olze kocht", we conducted a video cooking course followed by an online dinner to take a look at agricultural products from Malawi. In addition to the staple food corn for "Nsima", tomatoes, bananas, papaya, mangoes, peanuts, macadamia, chili, etc. are also produced. This characterizes the Malawian cuisine and makes it rich in flavors. Barbara Olze developed a vegan menu based on Malawian recipes and ingredients. During the preparations we talked about Malawi, the effects of the climate crisis, cooking habits, the lives of women in rural areas and what fair trade can contribute to this.
Solar-powered water pump supplies over 3,000 students and 500 families with drinking water and water for growing vegetables in the school garden in Makanjira-
Mpilipili Primary School is located in Makanjira, in the northern part of Mangochi District, almost six hours from Blantyre. Like most elementary schools in Malawi, the school also has to struggle with numerous problems: insufficient teaching and learning materials, inadequate study rooms, poor sanitary facilities, no access to clean and transportable water, etc. With the financial support of the Lower Saxony Bingo Environmental Foundation, we were able to improve hygiene measures for everyone and especially for girls in times of the pandemic. This sponsorship for the Mpilipili school, which was set up by the Central and East Africa Association, has existed since the beginning of the town twinning.
With the supply of drinking water, we not only contribute to protecting health, but also to the irrigation of vegetables and other crops for food security that have been grown according to the principles of sustainable agriculture.
In addition, in 2021, thanks to the donations, we supported Juma Wasili, our cooperation partner and former student of the Mpilimpili school, in providing people with rice, corn, masks and soap this year. As in previous years, special attention was given to those who were particularly in need.
FARAFINA- 1st Afroculture Festival Hanover
The first festival of this kind took place in Hanover under this name, which was initiated by ADV Nord e.V. with the Kulturbüro. FARAFINA comes from the Bambara - West African language - and means nothing other than Africa. 5% of the immigrants in Hanover have their roots on the African continent. All members of the association and initiatives were invited to bring their ideas and creativity to the festival in order to make the diverse culture visible and tangible.
As a member of the ADV e.V., we, the Friends of Malawi e.V., were able to present a virtual photo exhibition in cooperation with the Dzelaka refugee camp, which will be on display from March 3rd to April 8th, 2022 in the gallery of the August Bebels Institute in Berlin.
As part of the event, she was introduced to poetry and music by the artist collective "The Brandes Art" and culminated in the online connection to the camp. The hardship experienced by the refugees there, which worsened due to the pandemic, was hardly noticeable. That's why they organized the (corona-compliant) Makasi Arts Festival, which aimed to draw attention to the consequences of the corona pandemic, sexual violence and the mental health of young refugees. Due to a lack of funds from the international community, the UN's food rations have been halved from 13 to 6.5 kilos of cornmeal per month and hygiene measures to combat the pandemic are rather rudimentary. At the same time, the number of refugees in the camp has once again increased significantly. –
With the sale of the photos, donations were also collected for the refugee camp.
The role of traditional dances in Malawi - experience and understand
Theatre, music, drama and dance are deeply rooted in the Malawian tradition and still have a major socio-political influence on the everyday life of the people of Malawi. BAF director Thom Chibambo also drew on this tradition in 2021 to educate young people about the corona pandemic.
In order to find out more about the cultural background of the people in Malawi, we have once again invited the dancer and choreographer Joshua Bhima from Blantyre to Hanover. In preparation, he had deepened his knowledge of traditional dances in the well-known cultural center Kungoni Center Mua in Malawi. Due to the pandemic, we were only able to pick up the thread of 2019 again in November 2021 and offer workshops.
Joshua Bhima learned, and shared his knowledge and experience as a dance teacher. He conducted a workshop for young people at IGS Linden and participated in workshops with professional dancers conducted by choreographer Monica Garcia Vicente Dance Project and Bettina Paletta from Tanzpunkt Hannover e.V. The joint dance and exchange was very popular with everyone involved. Joshua Bhima and Monica Garcia Vicente have been able to continue their collaboration from 2018 and 2019 and have laid the foundation for a joint dance project in 2022. For Steven Markusfeld and I, it was a valuable continuation of the first encounter from 2011. He had invited the Malawian artists to the opera house, where they could see Monica Garcia Vicente as a solo dancer.
Malawi Lero – Project with young artists in Blantyre continues
The "Malawi Lero" project continued to be supported by the Friends of Malawi e.V. in 2021. Although no exhibition could take place due to the lockdown, the commitment to painting remained unbroken among the artists. The project emerged from a course for "Young Artists" held by Ralf Pepmeyer in spring 2018 at the JacarandaCultureCenter in Blantyre. Was initiated during his stay for the association "Freundeskreis Malawi e.V."
The course was aimed for the budding artists artists in order to offer them a framework for an exchange. In addition, the opportunity should be given to expand their technical possibilities and their concept of art through suggestions. Lero means something like today or in this time and is a word in Chichewa, the Malawian language that is most widely spoken next to the English official language. In addition, the paintings are also offered in for sale in cultural cafes.
Reinforcement for the Majete Wildlife Park
The Majete Wildlife Conservation Park, which is about an hour from Blantyre, has developed into an important conservation park and place of learning in recent years, which is internationally recognized. Whenever guests from Hanover come to Blantyre, they visit the nature reserve. For the students of the IGS List and the Jacaranda school, it is always a particularly impressive event that sensitizes them to species protection.
Wild animals have been reintroduced since 2003 with the help of sponsors and with a high level of voluntary commitment. Thanks to the donations, Monika Girardi was able to continue her voluntary work and support the nature reserve with her skills in 2021.
Public and educational work in Hanover
One World Day at the Limmer High School
Under the motto "What we have to promise you", 120 eighth graders dealt with the global sustainability goals in a variety of ways and handed over their demands for a better world to the Minister of Education. At the same time, messages from 130 students from all over Lower Saxony were presented, which were collected by the Association of Lower Saxony Educational Initiatives.
In addition to various speakers, I participated for the Friends of Malawi e.V. and the Actor/ Musician TJ Bless from Blantyre and conducted a workshop on June 29th, 2021. Measures to achieve the goals were presented using practical examples of Klimate protection and poverty reduction – combined with the rhythms of Malawian music.
Perspectives for 2022 – with Weltwärts in Blantyre
In 2021 we arranged two placements with our partner in Blantyre, the Solomonic Peacocks Theater, the association aware&fair e.V. and the association Lower Saxony Educational Initiatives VNB e.V., which will commence in September 2022 and will be funded by Engagement global GmbH. The Solomonic Peacocks Theater team will organize (street) theater in Blantyre and the surrounding area on topics such as democracy, gender, AIDS, water, hygiene, sexual health and human rights which is already popular in Malawi and has reached more than 7 million people. The Solomonic Peacocks Theater has a special focus on young people which inspires them to work in theatre. Although the project is based in Blantyre, it also organizes so-called “road shows” to reach rural population.
Information: Silvia Hesse, Chairperson / honorary management, Tel: +49 1725447953 and Angela Gulyas, Deputy Chairwoman and Petra Willke-Fischer / Treasurer,
Donation account: Friends of Malawi e.V. Sparkasse Hannover IBAN DE7725 0501 8000 0023 3455 BIC SPKHDE2HXXX, The Friends of Malawi is recognized as a non-profit association. Donations are tax-deductible.