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!
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!
Volunteer Sanne joined Phunzira in Ruarwe in June. She got involved with many youth projects during her time in the village including youth club sessions, nursery school and she also organised an educational quiz for members of the youth club with pens, pencils, notebooks and maths books given out as prizes. Below is a testimonial from her time volunteering with Phunzira.
“I really enjoyed my stay in Ruarwe, the community is very welcoming and the kids are so eager to learn and fun to play with. I wish I could have been more involved in the clinic but, as I’m now studying medicine, I might be able to come back to Ruarwe for an internship in the future! I would like to thank Phunzira, NYM, the community and Zulunkhuni river lodge for making my stay a memorable one and I’m hoping to be back very soon. [It] would have been more enjoyable if my travel plans had allowed me to stay longer!”
Thank you Sanne for your time and we very much look forward to welcoming you back!
We were very pleased to have two nursery and youth volunteers joining the Nyumba ya Masambiro team at the end of March. Cara Marsh and Sabina Trojanova cleared out the youth and nursery cupboard to make it easier for staff to make use of the wonderful equipment we have there, worked on teaching the alphabet to the children at nursery, and played musical chairs, hoola hooping, and sang and danced with the kids at the centre. Cara has already expressed a desire to return to NYM and the staff and kids would be absolutely delighted to welcome her back any time!
Volunteers with both qualifications and no qualifications are great additions to the team at Nyumba ya Masambiro, coming with fresh ideas, new motivation and injecting some drive into the staff. We all really value the effort that volunteers put in when they come out to Malawi and the kids, the staff, and the wider community absolutely love having volunteers around.