Apart from the plus of being surrounded by a lake that is home to juicy species of fish, Chipoka is also one of the hottest areas that I have been to in Malawi. And of course the hottest days seem to be when I have something important to do. On January 27th, the day whereby an important project was being launched by one of the youth organizations in Chipoka, the temperature was ridiculously high.
Transformative Leadership Youth Organization was started by Mr. Chenjezi, a secondary school teacher at Malowa Secondary School. The organization is comprised of both youth that are enrolled in school and also those that have dropped out. The purpose of the group is to enrich the youth with vocational skills such as painting, carpentry, gardening, environmental management, and computer skills. The project we are currently working on aims at helping youth in Chipoka find creative ways of obtaining a source of income using the skills that will be rendered to them. This project came into light amidst the vast increase of unemployment amongst the youth, and also after seeing the over dependence of these youth on their guardians (who in most cases cannot meet the needs of their children). This in the end brought forth frustration amongst the youth and led to indulgence in malpractices such as drug and substance abuse, and theft.
To mark the start of this project, we organized a training for the youth in the morning where various topics were discussed. Topics on business, entrepreneurship, leadership, and transformative leadership were discussed with the youth. Speakers included members of the organization, Mr. Chenjezi and myself. It was an amazing experience interacting with these youth and listening to the creative ideas that they had.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” they said. So it was time to have some fun!!! As an organization, the first activity and vocational skills we have planned is painting and gardening. Various tools such as watering cans, painting brushes, and paint will need to be bought for the start of the project. A painter from Chipoka has also volunteered to train the youth in painting, while the group has set up a fundraising show for the purchase of these items.
A party for fundraising does not go without music!!! The speakers were connected and the DJ was ready. A lot of people came to the show dressed in all sorts of styles. I felt under dressed. The youth impressed me. Musicians and dancing crews were ready to battle it out and they put up a good show. A beauty contest to choose Mr. and Miss Luso meant beautiful boys and girls parading in front of an excited crowd of people. We danced! We had fun! We collected a small amount of money. We are here to stay and these youth are going to acquire the necessary skills for them to lead better lives. We are here to serve. We are the people we have been waiting for!!!