In 2015, Henly Kumwenda (pictured right) and the Kingfisher-Sekanawo team from Malawi, set out to develop an arid piece of land near Lumemo into a camping site to empower the local community.
The community of Lumemo currently faces a number of challenges. Many students are forced to learn under trees due to the lack of infrastructure. Those who are fortunate to have a classroom face overcrowding and are not afforded basic necessities such as desks and chairs.“Many young girls are entering marriages as young as 13 and a lot of the young men work in tobacco farms as child laborers. With our volunteer programs we hope to address these key issues to allow these 460 students an opportunity to reach their full potential”
He adds that a lack of education also makes these students vulnerable to their environment.“In the rainy season, a number of individuals are affected with cholera due to the lack of education around boiling water before consumption that poses a huge health risk.”
Henly started raising funds in late 2015…
Hoping to develop the Kingfisher campsite in Thekelo, Henly set up a campaign on donations based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy. Funds raised will be used to build 2 bathrooms, 3 sleeping rooms and a communal kitchen area for volunteers and is estimated to cost approximately R250,000.“My vision is that this piece of land will not only be a camping site, but a space where volunteers from all over the world can come to Malawi and invest time into developing and improving our vibrant local community through their efforts. We will also welcome holiday makers for a small fee, which will contribute to paying school fees of orphaned children in our village”
The campaign went live in November 2015 and has raised R 193,643.50 with contributions from over 103 donors. The project still needs about R60,000 to complete, but he hasn’t lost sight of his goal.
Henly has a vision to help his people. He wants to show them what can be achieved when people work together and that many doors that can be opened through education. He reluctantly had to drop out of college because he couldn’t afford to study further. Henly wishes that he had been given an opportunity like this.
In anticipation for the long awaited campsite, Henly and his 5 volunteers have developed programs to teach Art, Maths, English and Physical Education.
Henly is forever grateful for the generous donations to their BackaBuddy campaign and for the impact it has had on his community. He hopes that the public will continue supporting their project. He wants to continue building his dream brick by brick and wants to introduce the world to Malawian hospitality.
Kumwenda currently manages a hostel in Muizenberg in the Western Cape. The Kingfisher team is currently assisting 27 high school students and 1 university scholar with their education fees. They have also provided over 2400 school students with stationery equipment. The team has raised over R93,127 for their campsite building in 2018.
(Tyler Leigh Vivier)