Dear Donna and everyone at Project Kindy in Australia,
Greetings from Malawi. We too think of you and pray for you all.
Yesterday i went to see two of the kindergartens where there is no structure. I went to Tikondane and Mwaywathu. The schools are still on holiday, but the teachers and the women started dancing as soon as they saw the car coming. I could not believe their joy simply because we went to see them. I try to send you the video of the women…. they are singing: “we are proud of reading and writing…..” and a couple of pics.
We also looked into the possibility of starting building for them. As you can see from the pics, they are still learning under the grass shade. The small company i have met is ready to start the two sites at the same time, so to be ready with both the schools before the rainy season. If you think we could do it, just give us the ok, and we start.
The covid19 situation in Malawi is not “tragic”, but at the same time not good. Especially in the towns, Blantyre and Lilongwe, the cases counted are much more than before. They say every other door there is a case…. but many also get cured. In the villages people do die, and they simply say they die of asthma….
Some of our sisters also got the virus, but now they are OK. They were taken to Mangochi, to our hospital, in quarantine, and helped with the needed medication. Even our staff in our institutions were badly affected. In the secondary school we lost one teacher in the month of May, and children lost their parents. It is really sad.
We use a lot of precaution and prevention. We continuously remind them to wash hands often and wear masks. Schools are now closed, on holiday, and the third term will start on 30th August. We pray for the childrens’ safety while they are at home the whole day. Still Malaria remains one of the great killers. Especially during these months of cold season, with the poor health conditions of our government hospitals, many children died because of malaria.
Economy is not doing well. Kwacha is losing to the US D every day, and things are increasing on the market every day. For example, cooking oil we used to buy at 700 K liter, now it is up to 1,600, and this happened in a span of a few months….. In Nsanama there is rice this year, but because of the COVID 19 pandemic, there is no market. People who used to come all the way from the towns, now are not coming to buy the rice, so those who cultivated cannot sell their harvest. Last year was the same, and so the harvest of rice of 2021 met with the harvest of 2020 not sold yet.
Actually, the struggle is always for the poor people of the villages.
This year, to help the poor people of the villages, we bought the maize one cup at a time from them, so that they could get some little cash. We made sure they were selling only what was in excess for their use. We bought the maize right in the villages, so to spare them the transport. This was a good exercise, though it took time and effort. The only drawback is that we don’t have receipts.
We are at the end of the cold season, still a bit chilly in the morning, but pleasant during the day. People started working in the fields, preparing the soil for the next planting season, at the beginning of the rainy season, November/ December. The previous harvest was not bad in general, though in some areas the rain was too much, and therefore the harvest is not sufficient for the family to reach the next harvest time.
To draw closer to Jesus, get to know and offer support to the poor, His living relatives, who are walking the earth in our time!
Hi, my name is Donna Power and I’m from the Brisbane-based charity, Project Kindy. We fundraise for kindergarten children in extreme poverty in rural Malawi, Africa, providing them with daily polenta-style lunches and education that prepares them for success at primary school.
John was a child of our kindergarten until a month ago. He lives in a subsistence farming community in the village called, Katundu, and is among the poorest demographics in the world. He stopped coming to the kindy last month, because he was feeling shy since the mother could not afford to buy for him new clothes. Tattered shirts and torn shorts are commonplace in these villages, so his clothes must have been very threadbare to stop him from leaving his home. At the tender age of 4 he has felt the isolating hand of poverty push him into the distance, away from connections with community.
His mother, Flonnie, is 28 years old and she has another child of 11 months. The husband and father left the family with no reason. Flonnie is trying to help her family by selling charcoal but there is no money for clothes, school fees, shoes or even food.
When Sr Giovanna, the Canossian Sister we work with at the grassroots level, realised he was not at kindy, she and the teacher searched for him in the village. They discovered the barrier that poverty had created and provided John with a uniform and warmly invited him back to the kindy to receive daily lunch, pre-school education and most importantly, connection with the rest of his community.
Flonnie is very grateful that some of the burden of poverty has been lifted off her and her children. Her son has food and a uniform, and he is learning to interact with others and to take care of himself. She says that words don’t seem to express the depth of relief and gratitude she feels for the community who has loved her son in this way.
Agnes is a mother at another one of our kindergartens, in the villaged called Nsanama. She was born in the village of Nsanama, and she could go to school only until year 5. Her parents were farmers and they could not afford to send her to school past this point, which is commonplace in Malawi. In spite of this, she always treasured the gift and the importance of education. She told herself that she will do all that is possible to send her children to school.
She says that the promise she made to herself – to educate her children – is still very much alive in her mind and heart now that she is 39 and has 6 children. Her older four children are now in primary school after going to our kindergarten where her youngest two are currently enrolled. She says that she is very happy when they come back from kindy and they can sing in English, count and read and even write their names. She says the school opens their mind and prepares them for the primary school.
Her children don’t have uniform and they go from home each morning without food, but the kindy and school provide a polenta-style lunch for them, so she is at peace.
Agnes said it was very difficult during the lock down, when the kindergarten and school were closed because of Covid 19. Her children could not get the polenta meal they rely on, and so they were hungry. Also, they spent the whole day playing and she realised they were losing interest in education and even forgetting what they had learned.
She wants them to grow and have a chance in life. Agnes says that faith and education are the two treasures to cling to in this life. Agnes is a very hardworking woman, still young and full of energy. She thanks the Lord for the gift of life and the family and is happy she had a chance to share her story with us.
When our family members suffer, we suffer too in a way. When someone offers relief to our family member, it means the world to us. For instance, when one of my child is having a hard time, I feel for her, and carry the burden along with her. On the other hand, when someone else in the community supports her, I feel filled with relief and gratitude for their kindness because they’ve had a healing or empowering impact on her.
God knows this about us because He wired us for connection. He loves families and there are many times that He teaches us a great deal about Himself through the frame of family life.
Our families profoundly shape us and reveal crucial information about us and this is also very true of Our Lord. God’s Living Word, the Scriptures, invite us to learn about Jesus in connection to His family. These insights are like rain from Heaven, the Bible says, coming down to us to nourish and bear fruit in our lives. It’s through the Old and New Testaments we can get to know God, the Father of Jesus, who is essential to our understanding of Christ Jesus, who is One with the Father and is the Word of Life for all eternity. It’s through the Gospels that we can get to know Mary, the Mother of Jesus and Joseph, his earthly ‘step father’, who show us that God’s invites and involves people to love Him and join in His redemptive work, too.
But, did you know that Jesus calls – no commands and provokes us – to get to know His own living relatives?
In the Matthew 25:34-40 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, Jesus says:
34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,[a] you did it to me.’
Other versions say, as you did it to one of the least of my brothers and sisters, or followers or simply ‘these’. But I have been drawn back to that interesting phrase in the NRSV, ‘who are members of my family’. It’s another way of saying my brothers and sisters, but it encourages me to think in a different way about how serious He takes all of this. Fascinatingly, He says they ‘are’ not ‘were’ His family, even though He says the actions took place in the past.
Jesus is inviting us to understand that He is connected to the suffering of the disadvantaged and heavily burdened people who are hungry, thirsty, lonely, naked, sick, imprisoned. He feels when they are made to suffer more. He feels when their chains are lifted. Why? Because they are His brothers, His sisters, His family. He is very close to them.
Why would Jesus give the poor such a high status as members of His family? This is a direct challenge to the popular human tendency to give the highest status to those people who have money, power, privilege and positioning. If we all honoured and loved the poor, what sort of society would we have? Wouldn’t it be different? We are called to do that at the level of the individual but also to challenge and heal systemic injustice that creates the disadvantage.
He is plainly saying that if we don’t empower, heal, visit, provide for and lift the burden of those who suffer, we won’t be spending eternity with Him. That is a very serious statement and one that we must hear as core to our Christian life. It’s not an optional extra, or a political left vs right argument. Jesus says, come and get to know my family, who are the least of your society, and you will understand my redemptive love more fully and you will relieve my own pain when you dress their wounds. And you will be close to me forever.
The stories I shared at the beginning are examples of how these two mothers in Malawi felt relief and hope when the community helped their children with kindergarten, ensuring hope for their future and daily food when there was none at home. It is a privilege to hear their stories, which they were happy to share with us. For me, Project Kindy has provided a formational experience where Jesus continues to shape my worldview and values as He calls me to listen to the poor in our world. Really listening means asking deeper questions about the shadows in our world and envisioning how to shine our lights more brightly. Listening to the poor provokes the comfortable part of me, the one that forgets the element of luck in life, to join in the work for Jesus’ family as well as my own.
Who is the poor that you could sit at the feet of and learn about Our Lord from? Who is suffering in your family, neighbourhood, church, school, work, state, nation, world? We can start by really listening to the poor and offering relief in one way or another. Let’s all do our bit to relieve the suffering of the least of these, who are members of Jesus’ family, and in doing so, draw close to Jesus Himself now and for all eternity.
I hope you have been inspired by the stories of John and his mum, Flonnie and Agnes and her 6 children, to love the poor because when you do, you’re loving Our Lord, too.
Thank you, team, for your support in terms of advocacy (sharing the story of the children with your network), encouragement, fundraising, donations and prayers. Every little gift helps move this grassroots initiative along and we are so grateful. Thank you for helping these children have food in their tummies and pre-school experience.
Your Village Update:
1) Our first permanent classroom has had the foundation laid and walls built, roof and painting are next.
2) The negative effects on food insecurity due to the cyclone earlier this year are being felt now with high maize prices due to increased demand from industry and below-average harvests and financial pressure on households (read more info here) Your donations give food security to the poor. Please consider becoming a regular donor from as little as $4/month to ensure more tummies are full.
3) Massive thanks to our recent Fundraisers:
Michelle McEachern from Paddock Espresso raised $400 with her cafe’s Christmas Markets,
Coffee Clubs at Stafford, Chermside, Toombul and Taigum raised $151.75
Kate Prior raised $280 with her two games nights,
Ken Mayers raised $133 with his chocolate station in the staffroom,
Jacqui Du Payne and her son Ethan (and I) raised $2738 with our Trivia Night which was evenly shared between Padua’s Franciscan Appeal and Project Kindy ($1369)
and Shaun McLean and the Volleyball community from Churchie raised $1278 with a 3-day volleyball competition,
Pretty Faces Makeup raised $300 (my skincare and makeup business)
Special mention to Sr Melissa Dwyer who raised $5123 through her public speaking!
4) A big welcome to our new Project Kindy members including our new regular and once-only donors, email list members and social media and in-person advocates! Thank you very much for your support!
5) Charity Christmas Cards are available through Rosie Lou stationery. Please support Camille as she supports us! She is passionate about creating beautiful, locally produced stationery that lowers your environmental footprint using recycled post-consumer card, non-toxic vegetable-based inks and much more. Now’s the time to explore their website for all your end-of-year thank you gifts, cards and wrapping paper!
6) Project Kindy Christmas Vouchersare available on our website in $15, $32 and $76 vouchers. A custom amount is available if needed. We can print your vouchers if required otherwise you’ll receive an email version that you can send to your friends and family near and far. You’ll be the BEST Santa ever by giving the gifts of food security and school readiness to a child or children in need.
7) A most heartfelt THANK YOU to the Catholic Leader for their support and shining a spotlight on our little grassroots mission. Listen to the ABC Brisbane Radio interview about Project Kindy after the Catholic Leader Awards encouraged our efforts by naming myself as the Volunteer of the Year.
PS. If you would like to become a regular donor to Project Kindy from as little as $4/month, or include a legacy donation to us in your will, please see our website for more details. https://projectkindy.com/donate
Thank you for your ongoing support of the kindergarten children and their communities in rural Malawi, especially after the floods earlier this year. The highlights of our report are:
Tax-Deductible Donations for the exact same kindergartens are very welcome through the charity, “Innocents Relief” (details here)
Sr Joanita has sent her first report, (see attached) with exciting news regarding using our funds for the construction of a permanent classroom
“Mastermind” – You’re invited to our annual ideas session in person or on facebook live, to help plan our “September Shindigs” appeal
“September Shin-digs”– You’re invited to raise money for another permanent (flood-proof) classroom by hosting your own fundraising event in September
Tax-Deductible Donations are very much appreciated because they go to the exact same place and significantly increase our capacity to make a difference in the lives of the children and their communities. Our friends at Innocents Relief have Deductible Gift Recipient status and donations that have been sent to our Malawi kindergartens through them have provided much-needed help since we began our partnership. We’re super grateful to them. If you would like to continue to support the children but would prefer the tax deduction benefit, please donate to “MAL01” at Innocents Relief. We are thrilled to offer this opportunity with the help of Innocents Relief.
Sr Joanita’s and I talk often via WhatsApp. Thank you for the extra donations given in response to the floods which went to securing a drop toilet that had become very dangerous due to the floods. After providing food for the children’s lunches, Sr Joanita informed me that the next most important way to support the kindergarten communities is to provide classrooms that can withstand the floods that wash away the mud and stick rooms each year. It is very exciting to hear that it only costs about $7000 AUD or $5000 USD to construct a single classroom with a cement floor, brick walls and a corrugated iron roof. With your continued help, over the next 5 years or so, we can ensure all 11 kindergartens have permanent buildings, a basic element of infrastructure needed.
“The money received will be mainly used to purchase maize, sugar, rice, soya beans, salt groundnuts and fire woods for children’s care and nourishment. Alongside this, looking at the effects of floods at the beginning of this year we have seen a need of building a new and stronger nursery school for one of our nurseries, in Ng’ombo, as their structure fell during the heavy rains.” – Sr Joanita
Our 2019 Mastermind Session will be at 12 Ryans Road, Northgate, Saturday Jul 13 from 2pm – 5pm. Our first Masterminds last year were so energising! It will be a fantastic way to get together, share ideas and resources and plan for a successful “September Shindigs” (more on that below). If you are unable to make it in person, we will film elements of it live on the Project Kindy Mastermind facebook event page. This is our second focus for the year, 6 months after the Cocktail Party in March. We noticed that our volunteers love to host little gatherings so we thought it would be great to galvanise our efforts and create a focus in September. We have resources to support you as you plan an event and together at the Mastermind, we can work out a great strategy to ensure we make a very big difference in the lives of many in rural Malawi. Please come or join the conversation on the Facebook event or here on email.
Create a shindig with your nearest and dearest to raise money for new ‘digs’ (a new flood-proof classroom) for Project Kindy. We need to raise $7000 to fund the construction of a single-room brick building to replace the mud hut in one of our rural village kindergartens in Malawi. 100% of your donation will be sent to the Canossian Sisters who manage the kindergartens.
A classroom that can withstand flooding will give many children year-round access to early-years education for years to come. Evidence from a range of research argues that ‘school readiness’ is one of the most effective ways to raise the standard of living in poverty-stricken countries. A local company will be employed for the construction so your funds will also be providing local jobs.
Create your own event and donate the funds into the Project Kindy Bank Account (on the website). Ideas include dinner, games-night, ladies’ lunch, trivia, live music jam night, champagne breakfast, family picnic, arts workshop, makeover afternoon or movie night.
Thank you very much! The next email you receive from me will be thanking you for your donations from this financial year. We truly love being a part of this grassroots initiative. With internet banking, Whatsapp and email, we really can connect directly with the local communities in Nsanama and surrounds. Isn’t that amazing?! I’m dreaming of another trip to Malawi in April 2021 – would you like to come? Start saving!
Thank you again and I hope to see you at the Mastermind or at a Project Kindy fundraising event in September!
To our dear Project Kindy Village, We hope this finds you very well. Again we have both good news and bad news. This quarter we sent our annual donation of $25 000 which secures the $36/year kindergarten fees for our 700 children. All our little offerings come together to make a very big impact in Malawi. It may not sound like a lot here, but it stretches a very long way over there and 100% of it reaches the children who desperately need it. Thank you for your contribution, support and advocacy.
Have you seen the disastrous impact of Cyclone Idais in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in the news? Sr Joanita reported to me that none of our kindergarten children has lost their lives, however, many families have lost their homes and crops. This is quite devastating. Most of our mud and stick hut kindergartens in the rural areas have been destroyed. To read about the terrible floods in Malawi caused by cyclone Idais in March, go to:http://floodlist.com/africa/cyclone-idais-trail-of-destruction-across-southeast-africa A few compassionate souls of our Project Kindy Village have asked if they can donate towards a special crisis fund to alleviate the suffering caused by the cyclone. Your extra support at this time would be most appreciated. To donate to our Project Kindy Flood Appeal, simply write the word “Flood” in the description of your once-off donation. Paypal and Bank Details can be found at: https://projectkindy.com/donate
Thank you to everyone who attended or supported our Project Kindy Cocktail Party at Cloudland. It was such a beautiful thing to have so many compassionate, fun and positive people in the same room. The event aimed to give our village a wonderful evening of celebration and connection, show the impact of your support with videos, photos and a display of the food, invite new people into our grassroots initiative and to raise funds.
Thank YOU for offering your love to these little, innocent ones who suffer extreme poverty. They are so thirsty for the knowledge and skills you enable them to learn and they are so hungry for the lunches you provide. Thank you!
These images and videos were recorded on a Sister’s phone and sent via WhatsApp on February 25, 2019. These are some of the children you love and support. They are at Nsanama kindergarten which is the one next to the convent. The other rural kindergartens do not have permanent buildings, desks, chairs, books, pencils etc. Enjoy connecting with the children you directly empower and feed.
It feels SO GOOD to be uniting with you and our Aussie and Malawi villages to bring hope (and lunch) to children experiencing extreme poverty! Welcome to the Project Kindy Village to all our new friends and thank you to those who have been in the village for some time now, for your continued support. We have some good news and some not so great news.
Firstly, LET IT RAIN!!! Can I get a toot toot??! It’s Harvest Time in Malawi which means it’s time for our annual donation so the Canossian Sisters can purchase 9 months’ worth of school lunches for our 700 or so children. This huge amount of corn and rice grain will be transported in lorries to the convent where it will be stored across several sheds. Let’s celebrate with a Cocktail Party at Cloudland on March 2.
The $60 tickets do not include a donation so we our Silent Auction will be pivotal to the fundraising success of the night. Do you have a luxury item or a bundle of luxury items to donate? Please reply to this email – we need your gifts in kind!!
Purchase YOUR tickets and feel WONDERFUL for connecting with our African “friends-we-haven’t-met”. There is research where they tested what increased the happy hormones in the saliva of people and it turns out that GIVING MONEY or HELP to people you don’t know is actually the biggest high a human can experience. You can enjoy a direct connection to your beneficiaries here at Project Kindy, as 100% of your donation reaches the children. We voluntarily work hard in the background and the volunteers work very hard in Malawi to ensure your time, money and advocacy is respected and optimised. Experience the joy of loving your global neighbours!
The rains did come but they either came too little or too much at a time. In southern Malawi there was not enough rain and then near Lilongwe, floods damaged infrastructure, housing and took lives this January. Read Flood Article.The country is never really out of danger as they depend on the weather for their once-a-year crops. The children are amongst the most vulnerable to food insecurity.
I was very saddened at the sudden loss of our wonderful Project Kindy villager, Bill Mulcahy last year. Bill had such a huge heart and the children in Malawi were so blessed by his generosity, as were the Aussie teens he journeyed with as a teacher and principal. I’d never met his family, but am so touched that his beautiful wife, Carole, and his 7 daughters, have decided to continue building Bill’s legacy through Project Kindy. We can’t wait to meet you in person at our Let It Rain event in March.
YOU, dear Project Kindy Villagers, have continued to give your gifts (most common: $8/month, $20/month or $50 once off gift), advocated for the children online and offline by sharing our Let It Rain event and run your own fundraising initiatives. We have a bunch of new donors and new event guests and we’re so thrilled to link arms with you for a noble cause.
BIG THANKS to Tim and Jo McDade, their 4 kids and their excellent friends for spreading the word at their January, “Festival of Friends” event. It was a brilliant, fun evening of live music, good laughs and even music trivia, all out on the grass under the stars. I felt connected and it was perfect to extend our great night to those friends of ours in Malawi who also hang out on the grass at night under the stars.
BIG THANKS to Olivia and Camille Chesterton from Rosie Lou cards and stationery for their generous hearts as they ran their Charity Christmas Cards appeal for Project Kindy again this year. Amazing!! There will be Rosie Lou items for sale at our Cocktail Party with profits donated back to the children. Don’t miss out!
News of Change
Sr Josephine Allieri has been moved to Lilongwe (where the floods were last month), so she is no longer managing the kindergartens. She has found some recipients in Lilongwe for the uniforms donated by Holy Cross Primary School Woolloowin – thanks again guys! Sr Joanita is replacing her but I haven’t met her via Whatsapp or Email just yet as I’m sure it is a very busy time for her getting settled in. Let’s pray for Sr Joanita!
VERY BIG THANKS to Belinda Starrenburg who has generously served our Project Kindy Village as Secretary, Treasurer and mastermind strategist for over 2 years. We appreciate her gifts of expertise, time and creativity and wish her well as she focuses on her family.
WELCOME to Amelia Heaton as our new Treasurer. We’re so grateful to have her and her Excel wizardry on board to keep our financials in fine order.
Remember 100% of your donation covers the $4/month Kindergarten Fees. Increase your impact simply by:
– Tell your story to a friend, why do you like Project Kindy?
Is it that only $4/month can stretch so far in Malawi?
Or that you have a direct connection to the children and you know exactly where your money is going?
Or is it that 100% of your donation reaches the children in the form of kindy fees?
Or do you like that the research overwhelmingly demonstrates that pre-school education is one of the most efficient and effective ways of overcoming poverty?
– Leave a legacy in YOUR Will for the children Project Kindy supports. You know, a gift of $5000 for example, would stretch an ENORMOUS way for in Malawi. See our ABN below and add us into your documentation and rest assured you will leave a lasting legacy of hope and improvement of living standards for some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
The combination of your generosity directly empowers about 700 children in rural Malawi. This year’s rain’s were not good, so the food security you are providing will be critical as these dry months continue. Sr Josephine has recently sent me a message on WhatsApp to update us. I love her messages because it reminds me how real our grassroots initiative is.
How are you? Here’s fine, very hot. Yesterday our “Tisungane” group met to evaluate the running of the schools.
Here’s the report.
The government doesn’t like Christian names so don’t be surprised to find each school with two names.
1 Bakhita Nursery 177 children
2 Katundu Holy Family 56
3 Nkasho St Pius 79
4 Masao St Kizito 51
5 Mlambe 30
6 Tadala St Teresa 90
7 Mwai Wathu Mtima 58
8 Mahethe St Anna 58
9 Napini St Augustino 41
10 Tikondane 55
11 Kankolosi 15
Total children 710
Total teachers 30
Thanks a lot for your support and love
Below are the photos she took on WhatsApp of herself holding a newborn (too cute) followed by the new building and paintings and well for the St Teresa kindergarten in Tadala.
We had a couple of people ask about receipts for tax purposes. We do not have “DGR” status (Deductible Gift Recipient) but we’ve teamed up with Innocents Relief, who do! You can donate through them and nominate “Malawi 01” to be your beneficiary and 97% of your funds will reach these exact same kindergartens. Innocents Relief will be able to issue you tax receipts for your donations. For more info, please see our website page: https://projectkindy.com/donate/tax-deductions-for-your-donations/
Would you like to be more involved in Project Kindy? Come to our quarterly morning or afternoon teas! You’ll help increase the positive impact for our communities in Malawi, be encouraged by like-minded people and enjoy some light refreshments too. Our next one is on November 11, 3:30pm – 5pm in Brisbane. Reply here for the address!
Also, have you included Project Kindy as a beneficiary in your will? We would be honoured to help bring your legacy to life, if you choose to include us in this way. Even just small amounts can go a very long way in rural Malawi. Thank you for considering it.
We are a part of something very special, a grassroots international partnership that deepens and expands as time goes on. Thank you for all the different ways you support us. This quarter was quite exciting. Here are the highlights for you!
The 96five Radio station blessed us with two very dignifying pieces, a feature story and a segment called “Family Worship”.
Our first Trivia Fundraising Night was a wonderful success, raising $1500 for our kindies and $1500 for a Fransiscan P-12 school in Timor-Leste. Thank you to Jacqui Du Payne and family for initiating and running the event, the St William’s Catholic Parish for hosting, the donors of the prizes and for the wonderful 130 guests on the night and others who donated prior to the night.
The annual Queensland International Institute Fundraising Night for our kindies was also a wonderful success, raising $1700 for our kindies! Massive thanks to Julie Soh and her very generous family and friends who have impacted our communities so powerfully in just one night, many of whom are ongoing supporters also.
Would you like to host a Trivia Night or a Fundraising Dinner Party? We can support you! We need you to provide the guests and the venue and we can provide the rest! Simply reply to this email to start the conversation.
Please share our story with your friends and family and offer the opportunity to them to be a part of our special grassroots movement. Your conversations, your personal testimonials are the most powerful forms of advocacy we could ever ask for.
Here are more photos from Sr Josephine that she sent me on Whatsapp, demonstrating the impact of your donations.
Our Project Kindy Executive Committee decided that the most sustainable way for us to consolidate and grow as a charity is to increase our regular donors and accept donations from third-party fundraising events. We deeply appreciate every donor and advocate who supports Project Kindy. Thank you to Allison White, Belinda Starrenburg and Kiara Palmer for volunteering for the administrative roles on the committee. Your time and efforts are appreciated.
Finally, just a thought, please think of the children when you are giving thanks for your meals, because they give thanks for you at lunch time.
RELIGIOUS sisters and volunteers caring for kindergarten students in Malawi have picked up their latest ration of breakfast foods thanks to generous donors from Australia. The Canossian Daughters of Charity and a group of volunteers bought a year’s worth of grains to feed nearly 800 children in Malawi.
For many families, sending their child to kindergarten is a guaran- teed way to secure a meal. But the local food staple of rice and corn are difficult to come by, as the Malawi harvest time is between May and July. The timeframe is the equivalent of having the local Australian grocery store closed from August to April.alawi who would otherwise starve. The grains will be turned into nsima, a Malawian dish made with milled corn, rice and water and fed during mealtime to the children in the kindergartens.
Since 2016, Australian charity Project Kindy has financially sup- ported the kindergartens. Donations are sent to the Canos- sian Sisters at the beginning of the Malawi harvest. Project Kindy founder Donna Power said the charity provided nearly 800 meals a day, five days a week for the school year, which normally lasted nine months.
“This provides much-needed food security for these vulnerable children,” Mrs Power said. Next month the charity will hold its first trivia night at St Wil- liam’s parish, Grovely, to provide even more meals for the Malawi children.
– Emilie Ng
Good food: A volunteer for the Canossian Sisters’ Malawi kindergartens carries a bag of maize that will be turned into food for their 800 children.
Project Kindy – a Brisbane mum’s journey with the world’s poorest kids.
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It was 2011 and Donna Power was catching up with a friend who’d been overseas for 8 years.
It seems like a pretty normal occurrence – but the difference was that Donna’s friend was Sister Melissa Dwyer, a nun who’d been serving with the Canossian Daughters of Charity in the African nation of Malawi. She mentioned that the kindy attached to her convent was about to close down. The country is one of the world’s poorest, with the population being extremely vulnerable to food insecurity. In fact, just 2 years ago the UN categorised Malawi at the highest level of food crisis – meaning one in three people faced starvation.
On enquiring why the kindy was closing down Sr Dwyer responded that many of the parents could not afford the $4 per month fee. With the 40 children in the kindy needing only $160 per month to cover the fees Donna thought this was an achievable outcome.
Donna Power – the Brisbane mum caring for over 800 kindy kids in Malawi
“I’d just finished up a job which I’d been in for 10 years and I was looking for a new adventure. I thought 40 children at $4 a month is achievable, and I decided that this was going to be my new adventure.”
Donna recalls her amazement at the cost of sending a child in Malawi to kindy for a month, especially considering our lifestyle in Brisbane. Daycare costs in Brisbane average around the $100 per day mark, which is mind blowing when you consider a class of 40 kids in Malawi can be fed and educated for $160 per month!
Since 2011 the organisation has grown to the point where they now support 9 kindy’s and over 800 children per month. As a teacher and former school chaplain Donna is passionate about the outcomes that early education achieve in developing countries.
Enjoying lunch at the Bakhita Kindy in Nsanama, Malawi
“Early years education in poverty stricken nations, is the most economic way to raise the standard of living. Investing in a child before school prepares them for school, and results in the families and communities valuing education. It also helps them succeed all the way through to tertiary education, and results in more active citizens and leaders.”
And on her first trip to Malawi last year, Donna found out the impact that the kindy’s were having, not only on the parents and children, but on villages as a whole.
“ The village chief spoke to us and he said – ‘no one visits us, we are the forgotten and neglected, but what you are doing us is remembering us and feeding our children, and for that we thank you’. When someone says that you realize why Jesus said reach out to the forgotten. How dare we forget these people who are suffering.”
To find out more about the work of Project Kindy check out the website www.projectkindy.com or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/projectkindy
TERRIBLE NEWS:This year’s annual rainfall in Malawi was dismal which indicates that food insecurity will be a very serious crisis as the months go on. Millions of people will be suffering from starvation in Malawi however because ofYOUR generosity,we know that nearly 800 children in rural villages will have foodin their tummies every kindy day this year. 100% of your donation covers the $4/month kindy fees for children in poverty. Your gift is immediately life-saving and the education you empower them to receive is life-changing in the long term. Thank you for making a very important and direct difference.
Buy Tickets and find details here for our annual fundraiser at Cloudland, May 12, “Making Malawi Mothers Smile” (the next day is Mothers Day). 100% of the donation segment of each ticket will cover a child’s $4/month kindy fees for a year. Enter the code, “earlybird”, at the checkout to secure a $10 discount on each ticket purchased by April 12. We would love to have you join in the party and help us raise enough money to secure kindergarten fees for many children in need.
We donated $12500 AUD this quarter! Thank you! Here is the response from two of the Canossian Sisters:
“Dear Donna, my heart rejoiced full of thanks for you help. Just this morning we had a meeting with the representatives. Planning for the closing of the second term. All the teachers are grateful for your support specially this year since the harvest is so poor.
May the Risen Lord bless you and all those who are supporting Kindy Project .
Love Sr Josephine” (Sr Josephine is the lady on the ground in rural Malawi)
Thanks for ‘the living water’ that is welling up in your heart and produce loving concern and practical help for our children!
Thank you for the big sum of money that you have sent for our kinder children! It will be ‘food from heaven’ because once again famine starts even this year…
Convey our thanksgiving to all those who contributed by giving up something for themselves…
The Risen Christ will give you life in abundance: you have recognize him in the poor and needy…
May His peace be with you at Easter! Greetings with much love to Cara! I am sure that one day I’ll see her!
With love and enormous gratitude,
Sr M Angela” (Sr Maria is the Provincial Leader)
In other news, we have started building relationships with more wonderful Franchisees of The Coffee Club chain. This is a long term plan for us, a way to build our network of volunteers, reach donors beyond our friends and family and build our profile too. Special thanks to James Chandra and the Chermside, Toombul and Stafford owners, Vanessa and Terry Phan for initiating this strategy. Donation Boxes are just the beginning as we also are working on community-run events too, such as school holiday activities e.g. colouring in Flash Cards to send to the kindies.
Thank you to the kind volunteers who have given time and energy to our Project. You are deeply appreciated.
Thank you all and please know you are making a real and tangible difference to people who are in circumstances we find hard to even imagine. Thank you for loving these beautiful little children in need.
I hope you have a lovely Easter. You are the best Easter Bunny for these kids in Malawi!
Happy New Year! Thank you for an incredible 2017 – we grew from 7 kindergartens to 11 due to a whole lot of new regular and once-only donors. These new kindergartens were initiated by the villages themselves – seeing the great model run in nearby communities, they were inspired to teach and nourish their own children in this way.
It is truly a sustainable partnership – our part is the fundraising/fundsgiving, the Canossian Sisters show the way and support the people and the kindergartens are built and run by the village volunteers. That way, the kindergartens are knitted into the fabric of the local community, from within, and over time they encourage more pride and value in education.
Below is a letter from Sr Josephine, giving us insight into the world in which the sisters live and serve.
“Dear Project Kindy,
Nsanama is a small village with a growing population, particularly of children. Whilst there are many children in this particular part of Africa, due to strict cultural practices and financial restrictions, many families do not see the value of sending their children to school. Ignorance, poverty and lack of employment cause early marriage and this leads to the widespread problem of HIV and AIDS, thus increasing the number of orphans.
The reality in which we live has prompted us to open our hearts to welcome, care and educate the children of Malawi, so as to help them to begin a journey towards a brighter future. This is aligned with the reality that education is the key to escape poverty.
At present we have more than 700 children distributed across 11 kindergartens. Many mothers walk kilometres with their children to attend one of our kindergartens, conscious that not only do their children receive basic education, but they are provided with one meal per day. This food provision helps to combat the situation of famine which is devastating rural Malawi. The food provided for the children is a very nourishing porridge consisting of soya beans, maize flower, pigeon beans, ground nuts and sugar.
The establishment and daily running of these 10 kindergartens is made possible with the collaboration of 30 parents who volunteer to teach the children and help them to grow with values and good manners.
The Canossian Sisters manage to oversee the operations of these centres, with the help of 12 volunteer coordinators who regularly visit the kindergartens and make sure they are functioning properly, for example supervising the parents who volunteer their time to teach the children. Volunteer co-ordinators also see to the equal distribution of supplies for the food for the children.
In our efforts to help people to become self-reliance, vegetable gardens and honey production were started to provide some income for families as well as have some help for the kindergartens.
We are indeed very grateful to all the donors for the huge support to assist our efforts to reach out and offer education to our children. May the Lord bless you abundantly and reward you missionary hearts.
Sr. Josephine Allieri and all the children of Nsanama”
1st pics of our 10TH Kindy! Here are the children of Sacred Heart Kindy at Mtimawoyera. You are the ones funding this exciting partnership with the adults and kids in this village location in rural Malawi. Thank you for giving them HOPE for their little ones. In Malawi, EDUCATION = HOPE! Your efforts are not futile, my friends. Look at the faces of the children you are directly empowering, $4/month.
Sacred Heart Kindergarten is our tenth community-run Kindy that your donations fund! Thank you for empowering this community to provide kindergarten for about 40 little ones. When the village leaders requested Sr Josephine’s support, She knew she has your backing and so was able to say YES!
Amazing news! Another village has requested support to build their own Kindy! This is “Mwai Wathu”, which means “our luck”. Thank YOU for your kindness in stretching out your heart from the Aussie village to this specific village in rural Malawi. Amazing things happen when two villages connect! Donate now to help support this new kindergarten!www.projectkindy.com
Thank you for your support for our grassroots project to support kindergartens in rural Malawi. 100% of your donation is sent to the Canossian Sisters in rural Malawi, Africa, to cover the $4/month kindergarten fees for children experiencing extreme poverty, many of whom are orphans. Through your gifts we are able not only to provide immediate food security for the children but also to improve their standard of living for life through basic literacy, numeracy, behavioural and social skills education. We are so grateful you have chosen to support these communities in your own way. Please consider donating to Project Kindy monthly from as little as $4/month so we can reach more children. Learn more at www.projectkindy.com/donate
Our main news from July to September is:
1) A tenth kindergarten was opened (photos haven’t arrived yet, sorry!) bringing the number of children supported to nearly 900
3) Erin Toohey, a 20 year old from the Sunshine Coast, took it upon herself to volunteer with the Canossian Sisters in Malawi and is currently still there doing wonderful work. (see photos below)
4) Brightwater State Primary School at the Sunshine Coast, and the “Get Reading Right” company, have donated expensive resources for our kindergarten teachers in Malawi, supplying them with a cutting edge learn-to-read program for early childhood, which Erin is currently training them in.
Because of your generosity at this year’s Benefit, one off donations and especially ongoing monthly donations, we are pleased to announce a tenth kindergarten has opened, and we now support nearly 900 children! The leaders of the village approached Sr Josephine Allieri and requested a kindergarten be supported in their area. Knowing she had your support, Sr Josephine agreed to partner with them and they built their temporary classroom, arranged a P & C committee and sent some volunteers to receive basic teacher training. Unfortunately photos are not available just yet, but will be posted on our website and social media as soon as they come through.
The Holy Cross Catholic Parish of Lutwyche held their annual Social Justice night this quarter and chose Project Kindy to be the blessed recipient of their gifts. They raised over $1000 for the kindergartens, created teaching posters and encouraging notes and donated secondhand uniforms, tooth paste and burshes, books and other educational materials plus the cost of excess baggage (Erin took it with her). We are so grateful to the Holy Cross community, including the Holy Cross and St Mary of the Cross primary schools. The impact of their generosity will go a long way in Malawi!
Mr Kenneth Mayers, a teacher at Mary MacKillop College, Nundah, began selling chocolate in his staff room this quarter and then banking the proceeds in our Project Kindy bank account! Teachers and chocolate are a very good mix it seems as the donations Ken is sending our way are really adding up! Thank you, Mr Mayers and the staff at Mary MacKillop College! Your kindness is deeply appreciated by the communities helped by the kindergartens in rural Malawi.
The toddlers and young children from Goodstart Early Learning Centre in East Brisbane also created encouraging notes for our Kindergartens and raised money for a book for the main kindergarten. We thank them for their efforts!
Erin Toohey contacted Project Kindy earlier this year to see if the Canossian Sisters and the kindergartens in Malawi could benefit from her help. Determined to be of service in the best way she can, Erin sought support from her Aunt Shelley, who is the Deputy Principal at Brightwater State School. Shelley arranged for Erin to not only receive training in the Get Reading Right program so she could then train the teachers in Malawi, but she also managed to have thousands of dollars worth of resources from the program donated for our kindergartens. Erin is currently in Malawi providing this wonderful training to the teachers who are reportedly soaking up every word and implementing the strategies immediately!
Improving the quality of literacy education in the kindergartens is a key factor in their success. The impact of Erin and Shelley’s combined generosity will be long felt after Erin’s months of work is finished. We cannot thank them both enough for the most beautiful gift of love, time and resources which will give the teachers confidence and skills and the students a lifelong gift of literacy. Please note that Project Kindy doesn’t run a formal volunteer program – this was Erin’s initiative which she funded herself (because she’s incredible).
Find out more about the reading program at: http://www.getreadingright.com.au/
We appreciate every dollar that comes our way. Thank you!
Please consider donating monthly either through Paypal or direct transfer through your bank.
Please consider leaving a legacy with the people of Malawi by arranging a bequest for Project Kindy in your will.
Please support the businesses that support us, especially:
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.
– 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:
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,
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,
(Founding President of Project Kindy)
“Grassroots charity founded by Brisbane mum raises $10,000 for Malawi kindergartens
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.”
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.”
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.
Bakhita Nursery School – Nsanama ….this is the main one that you have many pics of already. Here there are four teachers who get paid something small and 133 kids…there are also two cooks in the picture of the staff taken with me that Gio is sending. The names of the teachers are Mr Mlewa (headmaster), Mrs Chitzanja, Mrs Wilson and Mrs Baruti…kids make a small contribution and eat porridge in the morning and beans and nsima for lunch (nsima is like polenta and made from corn flour)
Nazareth Nursery School – Katundu village – this kindy has 61 kids and 1 teacher who gets paid a very small amount…Her name is Mrs Unity Vera. Kids here come for free and they receive porridge in the morning.
St Anne’s Nursery School – Mpera village – this kindy has 65 kids and 1 volunteer teacher, Mr Mpila. Kids here come for free and they receive porridge.
St Francis Kindergarten – 101 kids – this is the kindy of the picture with the teacher’s desk…we couldnt believe all the kids could fit in that small space, but you will see the pictures, they do…amazing…two teachers…Mrs Christine Bernard and Miss Phiri. Kids learn for free, mothers bring thier children from far and so remain for the day while the kids learn then they go back. Kids eat porridge in the morning. Teachers are volunteers
St Pius Kindergarten – Chikuse village – 86 kids and 4 teachers….Mrs Nakale (Headmistress), Mrs Wilson, Mrs Moyenda and Mrs Wazili. Students learn for free and teachers are all volunteers. The students received porridge every morning. Here they have managed to get a solar panel to have solar electricity…so they do fundraising for the kindy by getting people to pay to charge thier phones!! They also open the kindy for students in secondary school to study during the night as all houses in the village have no electricity…