Sitima Village near Zomba

Sewing in Sitima

Education in the area

Supporting Sitima Village, near Zomba, Malawi

I had the privilege to visit this beautiful rural village in summer 2019. I was only there for two weeks, but the effect on me has been profound, hence creating my own Malawi project. With a simple gift of my time and what I consider to be basic skills of sewing, I was able to help 20 children get excited about making things for themselves. This Sewing in Sitima project is continuing as other volunteers from the charity Network for a Better World spend time working with more children to learn some basic stitches and the first groups moving on to making new things.

What an amazing thing to do – share your talent with others, and receive nothing but love in return.

How much could we change other communities by sharing talents and love? I wonder!

Yes I’ve been inspired. So now I have created my own Malawi project and a small support group for this work and the work of the charity my friend volunteers for Network for a Better World. Would you like to get involved? You really can achieve a lot and impact many with what you may consider as very little money and/or time.

I’m happy to talk to you about any of the projects on this page, or other ways you’d like to help develop ideas to support this community near to Zomba in southern Malawi.

Malawi Project

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Tracey-Jane teaching sewing in Sitima Malawi

Summer School in Sitima

I’m taking a small group of young people aged 16-21 (limited by the size of the accommodation in the village), to work with a small group of School Leavers from Sitima village to plan an run a week of activities for children in the area. By working together the group of young people will

  • share their skills and talents and inspire each other
  • create a week long summer school to keep children active and learning during their long summer break
  • teach skills to children which they may not otherwise learn
  • have fun, sharing love through play

We need to raise about £2000 each to ensure we have everything we need to run the activities the young people are planning including health education, bike maintenance, sports, music and drama. Can you help us?

secondary education in sitima malawi

Education support

Did you know that secondary education costs about £10 a term in Malawi?

Many families can’t afford what may seem this minimal amount.

There’s also uniform and school books to buy.

Some young people have to stay away as the school is too far to travel to every day. These schools cost about £90 a term.

All exams are taken in English, so it’s important children learn English from an early age.

We know that education is a priority for sustainable development, alongside no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well being, clean water and sanitation and 12 other goals set by the United Nations.

Could you help support and encourage a young person to become better educated?

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Looking ahead to Sitima Summer School 2020

When I returned from a two week trip to Malawi in July I knew I wanted to do more than simply watch and support others. I’d learnt so much I wanted others to learn from my experiences and potentially be able to experience and learn from their own adventures. The effect on me has been profound and I think the last 6 months have been challenging me to listen not only to my heart but the hearts of those I met in the village of Sitima. I was given so much by people who have, (by the measures the western world uses), so little. The love and interest and care and attention was life affirming. There was no need for an exchange of any kind. As my friend Marian had told me, simply being there and taking an interest was enough for this community to want to share their love with you. So if I could learn so much in a short space of time, what could others learn? How could I encourage the love and care shown to me to others so that the ripples of love could go further? Education in Malawi While I’m not familiar with all the details, I learnt that education is a priority to the country, yet is poorly resourced to achieve everything they want as a nation. Primary education is free to all. The system works on achievement rather than age, so it’s not a linear way through for many children and young people. There’s eight years in primary education with a varied curriculum including English, Maths, Expressive Arts, Life Skills, Agriculture... read more

Education can change the world

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela I’ve just returned from two weeks in a rural part of southern Malawi. I went with a friend who is doing some amazing voluntary work for the small charity Network for a Better World. They aim to support people in this area who have limited support from other charities and NGOs, and even government support. The quote above is in the training room of the volunteer house where I stayed. I’ve heard it before, but until I saw and experienced what I did, I didn’t understand how true this is. Before I travelled my husband read up about the work of the charity and commented, “what they do is really simple isn’t it?”. Yes, it is. And what my friend had asked me to prepare was simple too – prepare some sewing projects to share with locals. Me being me of course thought I needed to fundraise to buy the women’s group sewing machines as they only have one available to them, which isn’t well used. I now know that being even more simple is what’s needed in this community. Education is simple. The community I stayed in, at Sitima near Zomba live simple lives. Their focus is on surviving day to day, and very much at the base of Maslow’s hierachy of needs – food, shelter, warmth and rest. They wake with sunrise and start their fires to cook their simple porridge breakfast. Children go to school (free for the eight stages of primary education) whilst parents work on their small plots... read more

Letter from Marian – Home from Malawi

This is a letter from my friend Marian Kearney, who is an amazing and inspirational woman I’ve worked with. She’s now in retirement and filling her time with sharing her love, talents and inspiration to those less fortunate than herself. In sharing her letters, I hope that others will learn more about how much little things can make big changes in our world. 10th May 2017 Hi Everyone. It is now Tuesday and since arriving home on Thursday I have thought about how I might end this round of emails and I am struggling. The struggle is there because  I do not know how I can adequately communicate to you the depth of my experience and also summarise how those who have so little can give such a lot. So in the end I have decided to sum up with a “letter ”  as if to the people I have left behind and here goes. To the people of Sitima As I have spent a few days in England reflecting on my recent experiences in Sitima l should like to offer a most sincere thank you to everyone I met for your contributions to making my stay such a happy one and in enriching my life overall. You reminded me of many niceties in life especially in the way you took time to genuinely greet each other whenever you met. I practised this in Kendal today and it took me a long time to get around the shops! You taught me patience, focussing on the moment and not always jumping to the next thing on the list. You helped... read more

Letter from Marian – Teaching new skills for long term benefits

This is a letter from my friend Marian Kearney, who is an amazing and inspirational woman I’ve worked with. She’s now in retirement and filling her time with sharing her love, talents and inspiration to those less fortunate than herself. In sharing her letters, I hope that others will learn more about how much little things can make big changes in our world. 29th April 2017 I can hardly believe that within a few days my month out here will be ending and I will spend the next few days saying goodbye to so many people including Hannif my self appointed bodyguard. He is 10 years old and not attending school even though primary education is free of charge. He tells me that it is because he doesn’t have any school uniform. I don’t know why not, as often our conversation with each other is lost in translation. We are at least having lots of informal English lessons most days. Here he is playing with some of the little cars I brought out; next time will bring plenty more of them. Talking about English, I would first of all suggest that Enid and Jill sit down before reading further, as this week I have spent some days in the secondary school teaching English. But please don’t be too alarmed as I stuck to what I definitely knew. My teaching group was the whole of Form 1, two classes brought together each day to hear my pearls of wisdom. In that group were more than 100 students aged between 13 and 17. Here in Malawi the system is that if... read more