Quarterly Report April – June 2017

Dear Project Kindy Villagers,
Thank you for choosing to support Project Kindy.  We appreciate your encouragement, resources, advocacy and shared passion for making a tangible difference in the lives of children in rural Malawi.
Main Points:
– Project Kindy President (Donna) and Vice President (Julie) visited Malawi in May
– “Under the Malawi Sky” Fundraising Benefit a great success: raised the profile of Project Kindy and raised $10 000
– The Catholic Leader wrote a generous article on Project Kindy – see below.
– More people signed up to donate monthly and more businesses invited us to have donation boxes on their shop counters (total of 10)
– We were able to send $2000 to the Sisters in June so they can complete their annual food shopping
In May, Julie Soh and I travelled to the kindergartens to see the impact of your donations first hand.  The village leaders, teachers, parents, Canossian Sisters and of course the children all send their deepest thanks to you for your generosity and care.  They are grateful for the chance to enthusiastically collaborate with us to educate and nourish the children.  We saw for ourselves the reality of life in Malawi and the importance of Project Kindy’s contribution to hundreds of people. For instance, the fact that these children are learning English is a major key for their education success for the rest of their lives.  Also, Sr Josephine Allieri and I were able to nut out an itemised budget and donation schedule to fit the needs of life in Malawi.  Another thing we learnt is that the food for the year is purchased only once and then stored e.g. your donations buy 300 x 50kg bags of corn which is stored in sheds for the year and portions are given to each kindy representative weekly.  It was a very worthwhile trip and we can assure you that the Project Kindy donations are making a profound difference in the lives of nearly 1000 children.  To see our short video from the trip and more photos please go to www.projectkindy.com
  
In June our Project Kindy Benefit, “Under the Malawi Sky” welcomed 130 guests to Cloudland.  The $10 000 raised means we have secured funding for wages for the teachers, cooks and even groundsmen at the kindergartens which means the outcomes for the children will be improved substantially.  We all enjoyed a fantastic night of delicious food and drinks, great live and DJ music and hours of dancing.  Thank you to each person who contributed to the night, especially our generous volunteers, our online advocates who shared the event on Facebook, Instagram and Email, our networkers who brought large groups with them to the function and the local businesses who donated items to be purchased to boost our fundraising efforts.  Our visibility on Facebook and Instagram was greatly improved through the lead up and it was wonderful to personally connect with and grow our village at the event.  All the photos can be seen on our Project Kindy Facebook page: www.facebook.com/projectkindy
A few words from Sister Giovanna Tosi in Malawi:
“Dear Donna,
CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! And well done. What to say if not a huge ZIKOMO!!!!! (means thank you) on behalf of all the kids, their parents, and our people.
Sure we prayed for the success of your effort, but never thought it would turn out to be so good. Indeed God is good, and people are generous and through them we experience God’s love and concern for the poor.
Thank you for your effort , and the effort of all those who have given time, enthusiasm, energy, support for this. May the Lord bless you.

Greetings to all there, to Julie in a very special way.

 

United in love and prayer,

 

Sr. Giovanna”
We are so grateful to our new monthly donors and of course to all our ‘once-only’ donors from the Cloudland event, the Catholic Leader article and those who found us online.  You have significantly raised our ability to impact the children in need in rural Malawi.  Thank you also to the 11 cafes and shops who have invited us to have donation boxes on their counters.  This provides a wonderful complimentary income stream for Project Kindy.  Our fundraising efforts will be more sustainable with this multi-faceted approach.  In fact, we were able to send an extra $2000 in June so the Sisters could buy the last of the annual food shopping.  It’s amazing to see that they buy the kindy lunches, 1 daily meal per student for 5 days a week for 9 months, just once at harvest time and then store it for 12 months!

Thank you so much for your ongoing enthusiasm for Project Kindy.  We are a grassroots initiative and provide a direct connection to the people in need.  100% of your donations reach the kindergartens in rural Malawi, providing much needed nutritious lunches and education.
Below is the article from the Catholic Leader.
Thank you very much,
Donna Power
(Founding President of Project Kindy)

“Grassroots charity founded by Brisbane mum raises $10,000 for Malawi kindergartens

CHARITY founder and young mother Donna Power has kept her promise to feed and educate children in Malawi by raising $10,000 in her first major event.

In 2011, Mrs Power founded Project Kindy, an Australian grassroots charity that pays for children to attend kindergarten in Malawi.  The idea came about from a conversation with good friend Canossian Sister Melissa Dwyer who was a high school principal in Malawi at the time.

Mrs Power started the project by sending small donations of $4 a month to cover the cost of porridge for 40 children in one kindergarten.  The charity is now set to send $10,000 in donations from a recent benefit in Brisbane.

Not only will the donations help fund lunch for nearly 900 kindergarten children, teachers who would normally volunteer their time to teach the children will now receive a wage.  Until now, only one of the nine kindergartens supported by Project Kindy had paid teachers.

In May, Mrs Power travelled to Africa for the first time since starting Project Kindy to experience “first hand how life operates in Malawi” and meet the people benefiting from her charity’s donations.  She said before her visit to the kindergartens and the villages that supported them, her grassroots charity was considered something of a mystery.

“When we met them, they said, ‘We are forgotten, we are the neglected ones’,” Mrs Power said.

“One of them said ‘We told our neighbours that you’re coming but they didn’t believe us, but now you’re here and so now we can say we’re not the forgotten ones’.

“There was a lot of crying.”

In Malawi, Mrs Power saw just how essential kindergartens were to entire villages.  She said all nine kindergartens that Project Kindy supported were initiated by a head chief or sub-chief who saw the benefits of a kindergarten model driven by the Canossian Daughters of Charity.

These kindergartens were developed with assistance from the local Canossian Sisters, who oversee nine facilities, with a 10th one on the way.  There are nearly 900 children across nine villages in Malawi attending kindergartens set up in collaboration with the Canossian Sisters.

Each kindergarten has its own Parents’ and Citizens’ committee and one representative meets with Canossian Sister Josephine Allieri monthly to discuss issues and needs, while teachers also receive mentoring from the first kindergarten set up near the sisters’ convent.

“The kindergarten project comes from the village – it’s their initiation – then they build the temporary structure, then they make the bricks waiting for permanent structure,” Mrs Power said.

“They contribute more ingredients for the lunches, they contribute fees when they can, they bring their children. They want this and then they volunteer to teach.”

Donna Power

Education key: Donna Power reads an Australian book to a classroom of kindergarteners in Malawi. Photo: Project Kindy.

For some children, the lunch they receive at kindergarten – which consists of a large serving of nsima, a traditional Malawian porridge – may be the only meal for the day, as grains harvested from annual crops are often in short supply.

“When the whole country is subsistence farmers, everyone has this life where you’re dependent on the rains,” Mrs Power said.

“Now I’d heard that before but seeing it in real life, that means it rains once a year, so you grow crops in that time and you harvest it, but you’re not going to harvest again until it rains again a year later.”

For the kindergartens, this means storing 300 bags of 50kg corn kernels, which the Canossian Sisters buy and deliver to kindergartens weekly.

“Our lunches at the kindergarten ensures that those children have got food security no matter if the rains have been good or bad,” Mrs Power said.

“We can be sure that they’ve got a good, nutritious meal that they’re used to, that fits with their lifestyle and their culture and their body.”

Children attending the kindergartens also learn English, which is the language taught in all Malawi state schools, meaning they are set up for a life of education.

“When we heard them talking about their village and the impact of the kindergarten on their village you can hear the passion in their voices,” Mrs Power said.

“They also said the kids are eager to learn, they are hungry for knowledge.

“They’re very proud and they’re involved and they’re participating and they’re leading.”

One hundred per cent of donations to Project Kindy are sent to the Canossian Sisters.

Project Kindy’s plans include building permanent classrooms for seven kindergartens and installing wells to take the pressure off sourcing water.”

For more information on Project Kindy, visit www.projectkindy.com/about

Please share this article by sharing this post or the article as it appears originally here. Your social media advocacy and word of mouth networking truly makes a big difference in how many people join our Project Kindy Village. Thank you.

Donate here if you like. We are super grateful for all donations. $4/child/month covers kindergarten fees. Thank you!