The Team Malawi
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Steven KambalameSteven’s tough childhood, which included running 40 kilometres every day to school, is one of the main reasons that he has put his heart and soul into the project so far. He believes that children should have easy access to education, without huge distances to travel. Previously a conventional builder, Steven was keen to learn about Earthbag building and teach others. He has thoroughly enjoyed working with volunteers from the UK and believes that the project has a lot of potential to change educational infrastructure in Malawi. The Mlambe Project could never have got where they are now without Steven!
Treasurer & Assistant Project Manager
Geoffrey NamagowaGeoffrey was born in Phalombe, southern Malawi, and moved to Chikolongo in 2005. He had a tough childhood, travelling 32 kilometres to school each day, but his parents encouraged him that education would help him to support himself in future years. Geoffrey sends one of his children to Nanthomba- where one of our partner NGOs ‘H.E.L.P’ do some brilliant work- as he did not want his children attending lessons outdoors. Geoffrey believes that better educational infrastructure will lead to better school attendance, and hopes this will create a better future for the local children.
Middle Manager & Earthbag Expert
Aofi FridayAofi has lived in Chikolongo for 22 years and has two children at The Mlambe School. Aofi sees the distances to travel to school as the main factor behind his continued involvement with Mlambe. When he was young he had to travel 10 kilometres each day; he ended up leaving school at 11 years old to become a farmer and has regretted this decision ever since. He puts it down to Malawi’s distinct lack of educational infrastructure and believes that his children deserve better.
Middle Manager & Earthbag Expert
Endless KachalaMrs Kachala has lived in Chikolongo since 1984. She has children but sends them to Nanthomba School due to the lack of classrooms. She originally saw The Mlambe School more as ‘the bush’ than a school and is delighted that it is finally developing into a great place to learn. Helping improve the school into a place she would like to send her children encourages her work at Mlambe. Mrs Kachala used to be a farmer and irrigate vegetables. She is very happy to have another income through building. She also loves being an Expert as she is learning new skills every day.
Twaya KapalepaleTwaya was born in Chikolongo, and has five children with four of them are studying at The Mlambe School. Twaya was enthusiastic to work with the project on their aim to become a full primary school, and stopping children travelling to Nanthomba. He was delighted when this was achieved in September 2017.Twaya was previously a farmer and his life has changed dramatically since he became an Expert. When farming, he would be busy between December-April, but after harvesting lay idle for months. Building work has meant that he is busy all year and can much better support his family.
Joseph MasanjalaJoseph has lived in the village since 1993. He currently has three children learning at Mlambe school in Standards 1, 2 and 3; so personally has a vested interest in the project. He is excited about the new developments taking place as the school’s facilities were previously not good enough. A builder previously, he was also excited to learn new skills when building with earthbags. He now believes that he would be comfortable teaching these skills to others and is full of new ideas regarding improvements to the technique.
Dairo has lived in Chikolongo his whole life. He has two children, both at The Mlambe School. He was incredibly keen to work with the project and was very happy when he was chosen to be an Expert. Dairo used to be a fisherman, but after surviving a crocodile attack he made a sensible career change to building! (Fishermen around the local area have constant problems with crocodiles and luckily Dairo managed to escape). He loves being an Expert and wants to teach the skills he has learnt to other Malawians to build a better future for the country.
Billy ManyowaEarthbag Expert
KingsleyKingsley was born in Palombe District and came to Chikolongo in 2008 to continue his education. He has been working with the Mlambe Project here since 2015. Before that, he was employed by African Parks maintaining the wire fences. Kingsley enjoys the work here and hopes it will continue for many years. He likes that he is gaining knowledge of building so that he can improve his work for Mlambe and also be able to find other work. Kingsley a son of and a daughter, who he hopes will come to school at Mlambe in the future.
CatherineCatherine was born in Zomba and moved to Chikolongo in 1985 because her parents wanted a better life. She started working with the Mlambe Project in 2015. Before that she was a farmer. She appreciates being here because, as a farmer, she could barely feed her family and now she earns enough to be able to give things to her children. She is also looking forward to learning more about building and truly being an Expert. Catherine has 5 children; 3 boys and 2 girls, and 4 of them attend the Mlambe School.
AminaAmina has lived in Chikolongo all her life. She started working with the Mlambe Project in 2015 and really enjoys it; as she puts it she is “very, very happy”. Before that she was a farmer, but there was very little money. Working here has meant she has been able to provide a home for her and her children. Because she grew up here she is very proud that she is working on something that benefits her whole community. Amina has three daughters and 1 son.