Despite the sad closures of NYM’s main activities at the community centre, in December 2022 some small parts were re-opened with great joy from the staff and surrounding communities. The library is running and being visited primarily by students to access during revision time due to its wide range of academic text books sourced in Malawi and UK. We are also happy to announce that the youth centre is currently being used by a children’s nursery, with free-of-charge access to the large room and recreational/ educational resources. In addition, donations are being sourced in order to provide medicines to the two nearby village clinics, where not even basic drugs such as paracetamol are available due to nationwide government shortages. The maize mill business has also received an injection of cash, allowing for essential maintenance work and the purchase of maize, to sell directly from the centre. All other activities in Ruarwe village still remain closed due to insufficient funds since the start of Covid – it has been a very challenging time and we are extremely grateful to our staff and supporters for keeping us alive over the last two years. We hope that by the end of this year the maize mill and its subsidiary businesses generate enough funds to re-open the weekly youth club and sporting events, at which point we will look towards starting up the volunteer programme again – it has been missed dearly in Ruarwe!
At the end of the year, previous Nyumba ya Masambiro volunteer Mecki very generously donated funds that allowed the purchase of 300 exercise books, 300 pens and 300 pencils. These were distributed to the primary schools in Ruarwe, Mazomera and Nkhoso.
The NYM Project Coordinator, Ishmael, had a wonderful time distributing the materials and sends his deep gratitude on behalf of NYM and the 3 primary schools for this generous donation. The kids were elated!
While state primary education is free in Malawi, parents must provide the exercise books, writing materials and school uniforms for their children, and those without these items are turned away from school. Sadly, for some, even these small costs are prohibitively expensive so this donation allows many children to remain in school, which is fantastic.
A huge thank you to Mecki for fundraising and providing this fantastic donation! Yewo Chomene!
This summer Nyumba ya Masambiro was joined by volunteer Mecki Ballantyne. Mecki is an experienced teacher who worked with the Ishmael, the Youth Co-ordinator and Frank, the Project Manager to share her skills and expertise for the benefit of the youth in Ruarwe and its catchment area.
Following her return to Germany, Mecki collected together a wonderful donation of almost 40 early-years reading books for the children’s section of the Nyumba ya Masambiro library. The community children love the injection of new reading materials. Most afternoons the children’s corner of the library is filled with children of all ages enjoying the pictures and sounding out the words alone or in small groups. These books are already making a huge difference to the confidence and desire to read, which is such a vital part of educational development.
Thank you so much Mecki for your time spent in Ruarwe and for continuing to think of Ruarwe with this wonderful and generous donation. Yewo Chomene!
Volunteer Kate Probert from New Zealand and volunteer Denise Dolan from Ireland have been really busy and have completed a redecoration of the children’s corner of the library at Nyumba ya Masambiro. Last decorated in 2010 when the centre was built, the new paintings, quotes and comfy seating area have made the library much more appealing to the youth of Ruarwe and we are seeing many more children coming to attend the library, pick up a book and relax in the area.
Thank you to Kate for the vision, Denise for the wonderful quotes and the staff for the translations and all the help provided – the children’s area really looks great now!
Nyumba ya Masambiro and Ruarwe Clinic have just hosted volunteer Kate Probert for 5 weeks. A qualified nurse from New Zealand, with particular experience in youth healthcare, Kate got involved with many of the activities in Ruarwe including working at the clinic, assisting the clinic staff to set up the Youth Friendly Health Services program, repainting the children’s corner of the NYM library and much more.
As Kate said of her time in Malawi:
“Volunteer and live in a beautiful jungle, right on the lake with not onlythe staff but the whole community that open their arms and welcome you in. It’s a no brainer.”
Kate, you really got stuck in in your time in Ruarwe and have made a real and lasting impact on the community here. Thank you so much for sharing your time, expertise and energy with us and we very much look forward to you coming and joining us again some time in the future. Tawonga Chomene!
This spring Nyumba ya Masambiro was delighted to host volunteer Denise Dolan, a qualified teacher from Ireland. She came to join the team at NYM for 6 weeks to share her wealth of knowledge and experience with the staff for the benefit of the community.
During her time in Ruarwe, Denise started a Go Girls project together with local volunteer Mary. The Go Girls program offers small group seminar sessions for young females to provide information, advice and discussion topics to empower girls to seek good information, make good choices and further themselves. In a society where female empowerment and gender balance are sadly lagging far behind international levels these sessions offer a great space within which girls have access to information to allow them to make the best of themselves. Yewo chomene Mary and Denise!
Denise also assisted with the redecoration of the children’s section of the NYM library, repainted all the library signs, and undertook a range of activities with the children such reading the Very Hungry Caterpillar and then painting egg box caterpillars and beautiful butterflies among other things. Denise, it was a delight having you to join the team in Ruarwe, thank you so much for all your hard work! Tawonga chomene!
In January, Nyumba ya Masambiro hosted volunteer Marci Koenig for 4 weeks. Marci originally travelled to Ruarwe with her sister Nathalie last year and decided to return this year to volunteer at the education centre. Marci has extensive training and experience with teaching early years education in remote locations in South Africa, where English is not necessarily the first language of the students.
Marci brought her skills and enthusiasm to work alongside the Youth Coordinator in the nursery and youth club as well as running smaller group sessions in the library. Using art and games to facilitate fun learning she really made a great impression on the children she worked with.
Thank you Marci for your joy and passion! Yewo Tawonga!
Volunteer Celia Daude came to Ruarwe to join the projects at Nyumba ya Masambiro for just over a month at the start of the year. She got involved with the youth club, nursery and teaching Standard 7 at Ruarwe Primary School next door to Nyumba ya Masambiro.
She said of her time in Ruarwe:
“I would definitely recommend to volunteer in Ruarwe! I will write a report for my university to inform the other students. In Ruarwe you can really get a good impression about the Malawian culture and school system. The people are really friendly and helpful.”
The best parts of her voluntary work were;
“to teach creative arts [and] play with the kids. To talk to teachers about their lives, about Malawi and the culture, [and] to get involved with Ruarwe everyday life, to get invitations to eat and cook together.”
Thank you Celia for your enthusiasm for Ruarwe and what the village can offer Phunzira volunteers! Yewo Chomene!
In November volunteer Rose Benbow came to volunteer at Nyumba ya Masambiro with the Nursery and Youth Club. Rose came with an incredible donation of resources for so many of NYMs projects. This included over 20 books for the library including Mr. Men and Little Miss books, Horrid Henry books, the complete works of Shakespeare abbreviated for early years readers and so much more. In addition to that Rose donated pens, pencils, erasers and notebooks for the Youth Cupboard, as well as toothbrushes and face flannels for the Nursery school students.
Rose also go involved with the repainting of the Youth Hall, and then with some teaching sessions with Youth Club once the redecoration of the hall was completed. Yewo Chomene Rose for your incredibly generous donation and your time spent with the Youth Club!
October and November saw great changes for our Youth Hall at Nyumba ya Masambiro. Returning volunteer Cara Marsh had a great vision for the redecoration of the Youth Hall walls supported by a generous donation from NYM visitor Sabina Trojanova. The walls had originally been painted with some small images when the hall was constructed in 2010. These small murals had become faded over time and Cara had a vision of using new images that would allow for interactive teaching for the nursery and youth club.
After the initial whitewashing of all the walls, the plan was mapped out and painting took 5 weeks in total. Cara enthusiastically encouraged guests from nearby Zulunkhuni River Lodge to come and join in as well as staff from NYM, children in the Youth Club and community members passing through. It really was a whole community activity and the nursery and youth club members really benefit from these murals every day, both as they are so bright and cheery and also from an interactive learning point of view. Cara – we thank you and all your volunteers for your vision and wonderful energy throughout this project – you have given the Youth Hall a new lease of life!