Building a new future for disadvantaged students in Malawi

The Students of Thekelo Primary School
Reading Time: 3 minutes

In 2015, Henly Kumwenda (30) 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 over crowding and aren’t 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” – says Kumwenda


Henly 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.” – says Kumwenda

Hoping to develop the Kingfisher campsite in Thekelo, Henly set up a campaign on donations based crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy, to appeal to donors locally and abroad for support.

Funds raised will be used to build 2 bathrooms, 3 sleeping rooms and a communal kitchen area for volunteers. The project as a whole is estimated to cost approximately R500 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” says Kumwenda

The campaign went live on the 19 November 2015 and has thus far raised R228 943.68 with contributions from over 120 donors.

It hass taken nearly 3 years to fund the project, which still needs  approximately R270 000 to complete, but Henly hasn’t lost sight of his goal.

“I have a vision to help my people and show them what can be achieved when people work together and the many doors that can be opened through education. I reluctantly had to drop out of college because I couldn’t afford to study further and I wish I had been given an opportunity like this” says Kumwenda

Henly with German volunteers, Anika and Eric.

In anticipation for the long awaited campsite, Henly, together with his 5 volunteers have developed a number of programs to teach art, maths, English and physical education.

“From the bottom of my heart, I am forever grateful for the generous donations to our BackaBuddy campaign and for the impact it has had on my community. We hope the public will continue supporting our project so that we can continue building our dream brick by brick and introduce the world to Malawian hospitality.” – says Kumwenda

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The Kingfisher team is currently assisting 27 high school students and 1 university scholar with their education fees and has thus far provided over 2400 school students with stationery equipment.

Kumwenda currently manages a hostel in Muizenberg in the Western Cape.

The Kingfisher team have raised over R93 127 for their campsite building this year. Continue supporting this campaign by donating here

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