I'm Nikolai - a British/German 18 year old, backpacking Africa for 5 months. My childhood in India sparked my love for travelling and experiencing cultures outside the comfort of Europe. I have been surrounded by poverty for the majority of my life, yet I have never come across poverty like I did in Malawi.
Amongst the poorest countries in Africa, Malawi holds the most welcoming and warm-hearted people I have come across. Despite the poor living conditions, the uplifting energy showed me an alternative attitude toward life and connection. Having had this experience I was left broken-hearted upon my arrival at Our Desire School in a small fishing village on Lake Malawi called Nkhata Bay. 30 deserving children are spending their days in a small, mangled house with nothing but a few outdated Chichewa/English school books to keep them busy and to initiate their journey of education. A local couple, Syria and Mary, are managing this school by themselves for no profit. They are doing their best to raise funds and to better the childrens' opportunities for a brighter future. This, however, has been a continuous uphill battle. The government and NGOs have shown no willingness to help fund this project, therefore the school is on its last legs and is desperate for any kind of help.
The rains have just begun and their roof is on the verge of collapse. Their empty classrooms are flooding, preventing any form of education or rest. The rains have made it extremely difficult for them to burn locally-collected firewood to cook lunch for the 30 kids in a corner of one of the classrooms. Without mats or mattresses, the kids sleep on the hard, cement floor and their bathrooms consist of 2 holes in the ground, 20 metres from the main building. For basic hygiene and to prevent the spread of diseases they need funds to build simple compost toilets. A complete lack of school materials - such as books, blackboards, pens/pencils, chairs and tables - hinders the teachers' ability to adequately teach. On top of this, Our Desire School currently has no electricity to create a more efficient and modern learning environment. To prevent any potential accidents involving the children and to secure the school, Syrian and Mary would like to build a fence around the perimeter. They additionally wish to start a small permaculture garden beside the school to not only grow vegetables, herbs and fruits to cook with but to also incorporate sustainable living into the learning process. This will teach these kids to become self-reliant from a young age - a necessity in a country where basic survival is priority no.1.
As there is currently such little adequate infrastructure and materials, I know that to realise these dreams, quite a lot of funds will have to be raised, but even if only a few of these listed improvements take place, it would mean the world to these children. Please consider donating for roof maintenance, compost toilets, basic school materials, chairs and tables, a stove, mats to sleep on, electricity, a simple fence and tools to begin work on their garden. We, in the West, have been beyond privileged to have been educated the way we have been, so please consider donating anything you can to provide these kids their basic human right - education.