After a Kayaking expedition went wrong back in 2016, Alex Hill (Co-Founder and Trustee of The Chazuka Project) ended up in the Malawian fishing village of Chazuka, located in the region of Chisema, Nkhotakota. After a close call with mortality, Alex received an immense amount of warmth and hospitality from local people. So much so that he grew a great affinity for the place and ended up spending 6 months immersing himself in the community and learning the language, Chichewa.
One day he was sitting underneath a mango tree, teaching some children the alphabet and a young man approached and asked ‘Alex, can I be a teacher at your school?’ This was the moment from which The Chazuka Project was born. However, identifying the need for a school was just the beginning.
To date Alex has spent a total of 10 months based in this community and we are now in a strong position to drive The Chazuka Project forward. Alex has conducted several meetings with the Chiefs of the local villages, he has spoken to the men, women and children. These conversations identified a number of areas for development in the community, the main ones being: clean water, nutritious food, healthcare and education. No existing international aid charity has provided support to this community meaning the work of The Chazuka Project is vital to relieving the area of its poverty.
Our vision is for every child in Malawi to be born into a resilient and sustainable community. Our mission is to support the young people of Chazuka, and their families, to gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to build a brighter future for themselves.
So far the organisation has been focussed on its first project: The Chazuka School. Alex and the local community in Chazuka have built a nursery school, complete with toilets and a kitchen, which opened in February 2019 to welcome 25 children and 2 teachers. This has all been achieved, prior to charity registration, through generous donations from Alex and his friends & family. Additionally, an in-country school committee has been built as well as other volunteers recruited to cook and take care of the school. A feeding programme has been initiated whereby all children receive a bowl of porridge each day which is an important meal they wouldn’t otherwise get.
The Chazuka Project is focussed on resilience and sustainability and to achieve this, we now need to register as an official charity. As a CIO we will be able to register for gift aid, implement a strong fundraising strategy, and ultimately expand our project work and increase our impact in Chazuka. A strong board of Trustees has been created, all acting voluntarily to drive this organisation forward. There are two volunteers: one as the Board’s Administrator and one as Accountant.
The Chazuka Project will initially serve the community of Chazuka, Malawi and the surrounding villages in Chisema. In time, this may grow to encompass other areas of the country. The focus will be on relieving poverty for the community focussing on the key areas identified with the community: education, clean water, nutritious food and healthcare. The next few years will see the project concentrate on its first project: The Chazuka School so that we can support the young people of Chazuka to build a brighter future for themselves.