26 June 2013

Chimwemwe - News Update

Update on the work at Chimwemwe and a huge thank you!

Many of you will know that Philofaxy is a stalwart supporter of Chimwemwe, but some of you might not know who we are or what we do. I did a post on Chimwemwe a while back (which you can read here) and an update in January (which you can read here). Steve has asked me to give you all an update on where the project is at the moment, which I am more than happy to do.

Chimwemwe Children's Centre is a charity based in Blantyre, Malawi, which helps street-children to return to education and to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. The children we work with have ended up on the streets for a variety of reasons - ranging from the loss of one or both parents (often from AIDs) leading them into poverty; to abuse by family or community members which has driven them away from home and onto the streets.

The new sign for the centre

At the moment, we are housing 14 children within the centre and supporting others within the community. Towards the end of January, we bought new beds and mattresses for the centre and there have been some major renovations to the building. Unfortunately, we had to close the building whilst the renovations were being completed. The Blantyre City Assembly said that they would help to house and shelter the children while these renovations took place, but they didn't and some of the children suffered abuse on the streets while the centre was closed.

New beds and mattresses arrive

Last month, Chimwemwe appealed for help to provide a sewing machine for the centre, in order to be able to teach some of the older boys tailoring skills. I am delighted to say that the donations that came from Philofaxy not only allowed us to buy the sewing machine and training for the children, but also let us buy a television for the children. The TV will be used partly for educational reasons – to be able to show the children educational programmes – but also to let the kids be able to watch television, like most kids can do. For some of them, this is the first time they have been able to. You can imagine their excitement! A huge thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the donations. They really do make a difference to the lives of these kids.

Arrival of the new sewing machine

New TV for the kids

Indulge me? Let me tell you the story of just one of the children – Nicholas – and how your support for Chimwemwe has changed his life?

I met Nicholas when he was 13. He had met some of the helpers in Chimwemwe but was still living under some shrubs by the river until we could find space for him in the centre. He had lost both of his parents. There were five other boys also living under the shrubs and all of them have subsequently been given support by Chimwemwe.

Nicholas in the 'home' where I first met him. Nicholas is the first on the left

Nicholas is now 15. At the moment he is in school at the equivalent of primary 3. For his age he should be in primary 8 or secondary school but he has missed a lot of schooling whilst living on the streets. By the time he completes his primary education, he will be 18 and Chimwemwe will no longer be able to support him.

Nicholas (second on the left) in the Chimwemwe centre in October 2012

However, we are working with him now to ensure that he will be able to support himself when the time comes. We are employing a teacher who comes to help the children with their numeracy and literacy after school, to help with the missed schooling. Some of the boys, including Nicholas are also being taught tailoring and business skills such as finance and budgeting. Nicholas' hope is that when he leaves Chimwemwe, he will be able to set up his own tailoring business.

Nicholas getting his lessons in tailoring from Luciano

A huge thank you from me, the kids at Chimwemwe and all the staff there. Without such support we would be able to do nothing for these children. With your help we are able to rebuild lives and break the cycle of poverty. Thank you.



  1. That is great news :-)I am so proud to be part of a group that supports such a fabulous cause x

  2. Fabulous news! It's nice to see that the boys are happy and acting like KIDS! :)

  3. Yay, thank you for the update! I wish I could help more than I have - I'm humbled to be a tiny part of something so amazing!

  4. @everyone
    Thank you all so so much for the support you give. It makes such a difference to the kids.

  5. Thank you so much for this update -- I learned a lot about the wonderful work you do! Fantastic! They look like terrific kids.