Newsletter Summer 2018

Dear Kudimba friends,

It’s already time for another Kudimba update.

There is a lot to tell…where to start?

We have made good progress with our latest project: the administration building with two bathrooms, office, garage, store room and room for the watchman.

With the help of our French volunteer and a local Malawian plumber, we now have two working showers, sinks and two toilets, the floors in the bathrooms are done and there is electricity in the whole building. We have managed to get motion detection LED lights around the outside of the building which we chose for security reasons and they are very low on energy consumption.

We have been very lucky with our local electrician, a long time friend, who has helped by installing all the electricity in our new building on his days off, free of charge. He has done a fabulous job and in return for his help we have decided to assist him and his family to acquire their own plot of land. In the future we hope to help him to build his own home, a modest traditional house, more about that later in this newsletter.

All of this progress we have managed to realise as our good friend Ruth, our new Trustee who was introduced to you in the previous newsletter has very kindly assisted us with a budget for the roof of this building. It was impossible to continue the works inside the building before the roof was finished, as the rainy season lasted much longer than expected. We have named it Ruthie’s roof.

We still have some more work to finalise in the administration building before it is completely finished, but the end is in sight.

Kudimba also finally has a solar pump with which we can pump water from our own borehole.
Our watertank is now filling entirely by solar energy, which is such a satisfying fact.
It fills completely in only two hours.

We have had our first rice harvest in Kudimba, as we made good use of all the excess rainwater on our land. Cornelio managed to harvest 5 bags of unshelled rice, which will be about 150 kg or 3 bags when shelled.

Further news is that our annual participation in a charity container going from the UK to Malawi was really successful again.
We were excited to receive kitchen equipment, tools, second hand phones and hospital equipment, all of this was delivered in Salima, almost to our doorstep. We distributed the hospital equipment to a local clinic. The second hand phones we gave to the electrician mentioned earlier, for him to check and fix and then set up a small business with which he can generate the funds to build his own family home.

Our next building plans are firstly the finishing of the administration building, then we will start another chalet for volunteers and then hopefully towards the end of the summer our central point: the education centre, more news about these exciting plans in the next newsletter. We are thinking of employing another staff member to join Cornelio and Mr. Gombachika with the building as it still is a lot of work. Cornelio and Mr. Gombachika are working really hard and we are impressed with their commitment and the quality of their work. The work they do is usually more precise compared to the work of outside professional contractors we sometimes have to get in.

In the meanwhile our newest student/staff member Mercy has been occupied with her computer lessons and driving license.
At this very moment she is learning how to look after our visitors, which will be Mercy’s role in the future.
We have got two enthusiastic volunteers in Kudimba at the moment, Kate and Monica, they are Scottish medical students and are working at the local hospital. Right from the moment of arrival, they dived straight into helping out at the hospital, which we are very pleased with and very proud of. Undoubtedly they will have lots to do, usually there are long queues of people waiting in line to be seen at the hospital. In addition, they are guiding Mercy to learn hospitality skills for future guests. We hope they also take a fews days off in their 5 weeks stay in Kudimba to enjoy the beauty of Malawi and to spend some time with the Kunyumba kids.

We have been very impressed with the Kudimba fundraising events which have been happening in Belgium over the past few months. Some of our supporters have organised a strawberry sale on a market in Lauwe which was really successful. Also our long time loyal friends from the Zikomo project have supported Kudimba financially through their bicycle tyre recycling project they have been running over the past few years. Their stall at a Belgian festival was – as usual- a big success. A very big thank you!

More updates after the summer!

The Kudimba team

Newsletter Spring 2018

Dear friends,

This time the newsletter is a little later than usual and that is because it is written live from Malawi by our loyal friend Ruth and very new Kudimba Trustee (!), she has swapped places with Judy, who left Malawi a few weeks ago.

“My first impressions of Malawi is that it is beautiful and warm, in more ways than one; the people’s hearts as well as the climate. I get off the plane and am greeted by Max, the Kudimba project manager. As we drive to Senga Bay, Malawi seems so bountiful and green, a result of the recent, but late, rainy season. Along the road there are many people transporting anything from goats to timber on their bicycles and women carrying heavy loads of their heads; I admire their strength. I see that most houses are made from mud bricks and local reeds for roofs, it makes one wonder how people stay dry when the rains are heavy. Yet despite the obvious poverty, people here generally appear contented and can always afford a smile!

I soon go to visit Kudimba in Lifuwu and am amazed at how quickly the work is being done. The new wooden chalet is being occupied by the first volunteers who are settling in and getting involved in the building work. The on-site co-ordinator, Cornelio, is doing a fantastic job of ensuring that everything is running well. He has planted trees which will be the pioneers of our garden (Kudimba). We have papaya, tamarind, passion fruit, sugar cane, rice and many other fruits and vegetables growing. This is part of our permaculture vision, by which this sustainable method of agriculture will feed, employ and educate to the benefit of all involved. Cornelio has also seen to the smooth progress of the new administration building, when I arrived it was mainly a shell of brick and cement and now, as we speak, there is a working shower (toilet yet to be tested!), a roof being constructed and a water tank. The next step will be to install electricity and the plastering work.

The highlight of my visit has been meeting and getting to know so many of the lovely Malawians. As I’ve mentioned before, everyone seems to be friendly and inclusive. I have had the privilege of meeting the two newest member of Kudimba. Ulita’s baby boy “Lajidu” was born two weeks ago, then Cornelio’s baby girl “Stella” was born 10 days ago. Both mothers and babies are doing well and are thankful for the support from Kudimba.

I also managed to meet Kudimba’s budding student Austin, who is studying public health at a university in the capital. He is very happy and thankful for the opportunity to study at this level; a rarity in Malawi, which will provide far more opportunity for him in the future.
I cannot continue this newsletter any further without mentioning the children at Kunyumba, who have been a joy to meet and spend time with. They are a great remedy to stress or difficulty and are an inspiration that despite their disabilities, the here and now can always be celebrated. They all look very healthy and are thriving well.

Amongst all the positive steps forward with Kudimba, there are always the challenges that arise almost simultaneously. One of these is the issue of a lot of water on our land at Lifuwu, which has been amplified by the heavy rain this year. The land is already low-lying as it is close to the lake and therefore it is at risk of flooding. We are currently trying to think of solutions to this and have planted tree’s/ crops that will help drain the land. However, there is a threat to our buildings and construction plans by which we need investment in order to ensure the work is of good quality and that they are done in the best possible way (i.e. a roof has to be constructed before electricity can be installed). On a positive note, all our buildings have proved to be water tight and stable during some very heavy storms!

Another hurdle to overcome is the issue of a national electricity pole on the Kudimba land, which is in the way of our most important building; the education centre. It would seem straight forward to move this, yet the government want to charge a large sum for this, which would detract from the original intention of the budget and causes a delay in our planning.

One of the biggest challenges that Kudimba faces is the high demand to support and finance young Malawians who would like to gain further qualifications and education. It would be very satisfying to enable these young people, especially those who are more vulnerable, as many are missing out due to the lack of finances. We are in need of regular, small donations which would make a huge difference and help change the lives of these young people forever. Do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you are interested in supporting a student via our education fund by setting up a regular donation.

Altogether, I have loved my time in Malawi and I have enjoyed seeing Kudimba with my own eyes, after hearing so much about it; what a great work! I look forward to joining with Kudimba’s future.”

Thank you for writing down your thoughts and impressions via this newsletter Ruth, we are so happy to have you on board of the Kudimba team.

More exciting news in our summer newsletter or on our facebook page.

The Kudimba team

Newsletter Christmas 2017

Dear friends,

Where did 2017 go? Only a year ago we started works on our land…

This past year we have achieved so much: it now seems like Cornelio and his family have lived in their new house forever. We have a storeroom to keep our building equipment safely, we have a borehole,  a state of the art septic tank, a water tower, we have an electricity connection ( which is really handy in the rare event that there is no power cut). We have a fence around our property, our first guest chalet only needs some finishing touches and the foundations for our office building and sanitation area are ready.

Next up is to finish the office and sanitation building, get a new watertank (we had a watertank, but that one broke so we still have to replace it), buy a solar pump to bring water from our borehole to our watertank. We will construct a small building to protect the solar pump,  our plumber-volunteer will connect all the plumbing. We will buy a waterfilter to have safe drinking water for everyone.

If the budget allows we will continue with an open air kitchen, an educational space, a second sanitation area, a place to do the laundry and a gate at the front and the back of the property.

Once we have achieved this, the building works are not yet finished but the project is ready to be operational and to receive young people for day care, as we are still only providing outreach care at the moment.

Ongoing works are the furniture in all areas, the development of the garden and our natural living fence.

Soon we will have our very own guinea pig to test the accommodation: Kudimba’s Judy will stay in the guest chalet in February and test it out for next visitors to come.

Our original optimistic goal was to open the doors of Kudimba in April 2018 and it looks like this is not going to be possible yet, due to all the delays we had at the start of our development, problems which were out of our control. If all goes well and we have the budget,  the start of our daycare is not going to be too much longer though. Our new deadline is the end of 2018.

We find it important to emphasise in this newsletter again that every single pound, euro, dollar or Malawian kwacha donated to Kudimba is used directly to assist vulnerable young people in the Salima area. All overseas Kudimba members contribute their time, travels and efforts without any financial compensation. Kudimba pays their local coworkers in Malawi a modest but fair salary so that they can support their family. We also assist them in emergencies and try to encourage the education of their children.

We are very happy with our newest member of the Kudimba team: Mercy. She will be responsible for social care in Kudimba and for receiving visitors. At the moment Mercy is preparing for the job: she is doing computer lessons, a drivers license and after that we plan for Mercy to do a course in sexual health education.

It is our aim to create opportunities for education for Kudimba’s staff members. Cornelio has already done a training in permaculture and also William and Max are keen to do this once the building works have progressed more. Judy will assist the staff members with more computer training when she is in Lifuwu in February.

Our other students are doing well, Jimmy has completed his welding training, we hope he will find opportunities to bring his training in practice. Austin is on a Christmas break, he has finished his first year in ‘Public Health’, we are really excited to find out what his results are, fingers crossed.

From about April 2018 onwards we are looking forward to welcoming our newest member: Ulita, who will be the first Kunyumba kid to participate in Kudimba.

A big thank you to everyone who has contributed towards Kudimba this year: by encouraging and supporting us, by sharing our enthusiasm, donating your time and money, your practical support, ideas and suggestions, by baking cakes, printing calendars and flyers, making bicycle tyre jewellery, by fundraising for Kudimba, visiting us and sharing our news, we really appreciate it very much and all these shoulders carry Kudimba further….

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year,

The Kudimba team

Newsletter Autumn 2017

Dear Kudimba Friends,

It’s already time for another Kudimba update and we’ve got lots to tell as we have made great progress over the past few months.

No-one ever was this enthusiastic about a septic tank before as I am.

We are so excited that we finally managed to find the right people to design and build our septic tank, as buying a ready made tank as in Europe is not a possibility in Malawi.

After months of looking for perfect solutions, planning, talking, emailing, negotiating, we found an excellent solution and a local expert team. Our newly built septic tank can cope with droughts and floods and even earthquakes and the great news is that the Kudimba staff and members and anyone who wants to visit Kudimba in the future will have a proper flush toilet.

We had another local builder who constructed a fence around the Kudimba land. Our very own Foster, Kunyumba’s security guard/ bicycle taxi driver/fence builder has done an excellent job.
In Lifuwu cows, goats, sheep and chickens roam around freely, it’s very charming but impractical when trying to grow fruits and vegetables, the hungry cattle devour everything. We chose the most local, eco and budget friendly solution to protect our future organic crops from the foraging animals. Our plan is to transform this temporary fence into a living natural fence in time.

Austin and Jimmy, our students are both doing well and are now starting the next semester. Austin is specialising in Public Health and Jimmy is starting the last semester of his welding course.

Kunyumba, the original project for smaller children has recently celebrated its 9th birthday. We were very fortunate that in the first 8 years we only witnessed growth and happiness within our ever growing group of children. This past year however, fate has turned on us and in less than 12 months we had to say goodbye to three of our young people, caused by a diversity of medical reasons they passed away, some completely unexpected, some from chronicle medical conditions, but all much too soon.
With very great sadness we had to say goodbye to Patrick recently. Patrick was a young boy who had been part of Kunyumba for several years, due to his health problems. He was too weak to walk to school and his single mum was struggling to care for him and all his siblings. Patrick had a combination of health problems which were unfortunately virtually untreatable, even with the best possible medical care. Despite his hopeless medical situation he fought so very hard to be alive. He so wanted to live and he felt a great responsibility for those around him. Patrick never complained, always smiled and was a great guide and support for the less able children. He was truly remarkable, those who met Patrick will agree. We had hoped to have a place for him in Kudimba and we will miss him.

Our Kudimba plans for the very near future are taking shape.

A very recent development is that we have two French volunteers who plan to come to Malawi for three months to help us establish Kudimba further: Aurelia is a Paediatrician who will work in the local hospital, as you can see from our losses above her skills are much needed in Malawi. Michael is a plumber who will sort out some of Kudimba’s sanitation puzzles. He will help us design clever systems to deal with water management, as we have to deal with lots of water at once in the rainy season and then no water at all in the dry season. We hope to realise a system whereby we can purify and reuse some of the water from the kitchen, shower and laundry for other purposes, such as irrigation of the garden and toilet flush. We are very excited to work with Aurelia and Michael.

We are now planning the next phases of development which is the office building with sanitation area and the kitchen, but as we are expecting our volunteers we plan to construct a small wooden cabin first to accommodate Aurelia and Michael in Kudimba and hopefully many more volunteers in the future…

A word of thanks to the students of the International School of Brussels who have collected a fabulous donation for Kudimba through their annual “runathon”, great job! Your contribution will really help the project and go a long way.

Our warmest greetings,
The Kudimba Team

Newsletter Summer 2017

Dear friends,

Here are some updates in our third Kudimba newsletter.

The development on our land in Malawi is going well. Max, Cornelio and William are working hard and every day we are making some progress.

Our lovely Judy has spent some time in Lifuwu meeting the Kudimba technical team and supervising the construction works. As it was the rainy season a lower lying  part of the land was flooded. Luckily this is not an area where we  plan to build, it will be our vegetable garden. Nevertheless we are looking at solutions for water management in the future. In Malawi it is all or nothing, too much water in the rainy season  and not enough water in the dry season.

Finally Cornelio’s home is finished and even the traditional decoration is done. Cornelio will have electricity in his home, which is a first for him and his family.
A small tree was planted in front of Cornelio’s house. It was given to us by a very dear friend, to plant in memory of Mtima who sadly died earlier this year so he can still be a part of Kudimba.

We now have a bore hole and our water tower is nearly finished. We are looking at buying a solar powered pump to bring the water from the borehole to the tank on top of the water tower.
We are also working on plans for the septic tank which is a little challenging as the soil in Lifuwu is sandy and the water table is high. We need to make sure that we have a robust system in place which can deal with these circumstances.

Even Google Earth is up to date with the Kudimba developments, Cornelio’s house is already visible on the map.  Whilst you are there have a look at how beautiful our land is and how much space we have…

We aim to finish our first short term objective soon: the water tower and tank, a septic tank, the solar powered waterpump with a little pump house around it and a fence around the property. After that we will start with the big works: the educational centre, an open air kitchen and an extra building with a bathroom, storeroom, garage and room for the security.

In the meantime we have received a very generous donation from the fundraiser at the school in Belgium, ’Guldensporen college’ in Kortrijk, thank you very much for this, your donation will help us a long way.

Great news, Kudimba has won and is selected by a Belgian bank  (KBC) for a fundraising campaign. For every euro donated the bank will double the donation. This campaign starts on the 26th of June and we will send an email to all our Belgian friends with more information.  Of course people can still donate on our regular accounts in Belgium,  France and the UK and  a standing order with a monthly small contribution is the most effective form of support for our project development.

Our bank account details can be found here on our website.

More information about Kudimba  on our Facebook page: Kudimba Foundation.

Have a great summer! It is winter in Malawi now – a mere 25 degrees during the day but going down to 11 degrees at night!

The Kudimba team.

Newsletter Spring 2017

Dear friends,

Here is our second Kudimba newsletter and we are so pleased to start our spring update with some very good news.

Finally the land issue we had has been cleared. Six months of red tape and unnecessary paper shuffling later – it seems to be the way things work in Malawi- we can now continue with our Kudimba building works, full steam ahead!.
Cornelio and William were very eager to restart the work where they had left it. At present they are building a house and a store room. The house will be the new home for Cornelio and his family, our on-site Kudimba manager. He can then overview the next phase of the building works. The store room will keep all our building equipment safe whilst the works are going on. The next steps are an electricity connection, a bore hole, a septic tank, a water storage facility and a fence around the property. After that we will continue with the larger infrastructure.

Whilst all of this is going on, Cornelio and William will also start planting the garden.

So what have we been upto the last few months:

Kudimba was invited in the International School in Brussels to talk about Malawi and the Kudimba plans. Zikomo used the opportunity to present their work with a workshop using recycled bicycle tires.

The Guldensporen college in Kortrijk have organised a special event for Kudimba. All students had an ‘honest’ breakfast, with only fair trade products, and were given a presentation about Kudimba, in return they fundraised for our project.

More good news, we finally have a Belgian Kudimba bank account. Until now we only had an account in the UK and in France, but now our Belgian friends can contribute directly on this account:

BE 54 3770 8346 4897
ING Lion Account
Eendenstraat 44
8450 Bredene

Our other account details, for UK and France are still the same and can be found here.

More news from Malawi

We were very sad to have to say goodbye to our little friend Mtima. This 17 year old boy was the very first Kunyumba child ( the original project) and Kudimba was being developed very much with him in mind, he had a learning disability. Mtima had a severe epileptic fit at home and didn’t survive. We miss him very much and will always think back with fond memories. Hopefully Kudimba can be a little oasis for many young kids like Mtima.

Austin has very enthusiastically started his course in Lilongwe, in March he is writing his first mid term exams and we are very keen to find out how he is doing.

Jimmy in the meanwhile is very occupied with his welding course, and if all goes well we are hoping to employ him in a further stage of our building works to assist us with all that needs welding for our infrastructure.

Thoko is looking for a sponsor, this young girl has just passed her secondary education with very good results and her dream is to study irrigation technology at the university of Malawi, a much needed specialisation in Malawi’s climate. Unfortunately higher education is unaffordable for most parents in Malawi. If anyone is interested to sponsor Thoko or any other young person via our education fund, for which we rely on monthly donations, please get in touch with us via email:
One off donations help us to further develop out project and are of course also very welcome.

Our Trustee Judy will now stay in Malawi for a while to follow up on the building works, the garden development and some other practical issues. All the very best Judy, have a lovely time!

You can still find more updates and pictures on Kudimba on our Facebook page.

Enjoy the spring!
The Kudimba Team

Newsletter Christmas 2016

Dear friends,

This is our first Kudimba newsletter. Our plan is to publish a Kudimba update four times per year, one for every season and this Christmas edition is the very first one.

Here are our recent project updates:
The big news is that our new Kudimba film is finally ready, Fred did a great job filming and editing the movie and we are very proud to present it.

We also have continuously worked to improve our website. Please have a look around, we will keep updating it as our project progresses.

Another way to stay in touch with Kudimba is via Facebook, here is the link.

We have bought some beautiful land right by Lake Malawi and we now need to develop it for Kudimba. The work will be done in several phases so that we can budget and raise funds and also so that it grows organically and will serve our needs. Unfortunately we have some delay with our building works on site in Malawi, but we hope to continue with phase one of our plans soon.

The first phase will be a home for Cornelio and his family, our on site manager of Kudimba.
Cornelio will build a traditional house and will also dig a water borehole and a composting toilet. He will also build a store room to safely keep all the construction materials for the next phase.
We will initially connect up to the mains electricity supply but it is very expensive in Malawi. In the future we would like to explore sustainable energy sources such as solar energy and wind turbines.

Phase two will entail the construction of our large education centre, an open air kitchen and bathroom and a fence around our property to protect our permaculture garden from goats and cows. Our garden will be developed gradually throughout the construction works. Cornelio has a background in agriculture and has done a permaculture training, so we are confident that the garden will bloom under his supervision

We have two students participating in our education fund, which is great as Kudimba hasn’t even officially opened the doors yet. Austin is currently preparing for his nursing training and Jimmy is learning to be a welder at the Salima technical college.

Our yearly hospital uniform collection has now expanded and we are also collecting second hand laptops and phones. Our Trustee Judy Sweeney is in charge of this collection. She is an ITer and her aim is to renovate all laptops and teach young people how to work with a computer. Later on Judy also wants to teach how to repair a computer, a rare and precious skill in Malawi.

A big thank you to everyone who has donated to Kudimba this year.
Your donations are very much appreciated and will help the development of Kudimba. Please find our account details below.
Monthly contributions will go to our education fund, to support young people to study and learn a profession. One off donations are equally welcome as they will go towards the development of Kudimba, we still hope to open our doors officially in 2018.

With this first newsletter we also send our warmest Christmas wishes to everyone of you and wish you all a very happy and healthy new year.

The Kudimba Team

Second Kudimba update

Dear friends,

Second Kudimba update, more exciting news

And soon…
• We are starting a new collection of laptops, uniforms and other useful items to be shipped in a container from the UK going to Malawi

• Soon our new Kudimba Film will be ready…watch this space

October 2016
• We are celebrating the 70th birthday of our favourite Kudimba Trustee, friend and supporter George Allard. Happy birthday and lots of love to you George! xxx

September 2016
• Austin and Jimmy are the first two candidates of our ‘Education Fund’. Austin will study nursing at the College of Health Science in Thyolo in the South of Malawi and Jimmy will train to be a welder at the Technical College of Salima.

Good luck to both of you!

August 2016
• Two years ago, the idea of Kudimba had just started to arise in our minds and now we are so proud of the progress the concept has made. The doors of our project are not yet officially opened and already we support two students with our Education Fund. The construction works on our land in Lifuwu have started at the beginning of this month. We will start with a family home for our manager, a store room for the building and gardening equipment, a borehole and an electricity connection. Finally the development of the garden will conclude part one of our construction works.

• Kudimba Foundation is now also officially registered with CONGOMA, the Council for non-governmental organisations in Malawi. Also in the UK, Kudimba is now an official organization, with an own proper bank account.

July 2016
• Cornelio is the brand new manager of Kudimba Foundation, welcome to our team Cornelio, we wish you al the best. Cornelio will start with an internship in the original project, Kunyumba and he will also attend a permaculture training in Monkey Bay.

June 2016
• Another container arrived in Salima with donations which are invaluable for the area. We distributed to a large amount of Oxford Brookes hospital uniforms donated by graduating students. The uniforms were given to the staff of a local hospital, Pothawira. Also a great donation of laptops was distributed to Kunyumba and Kudimba staff and students, thank you Judy Sweeney for your hard work collecting, renovating, packing and shipping the laptops. Thank you Fiona Sawney for the fabulous donation of children’s books to Kunyumba.

March 2016
• Kudimba Foundation is officially registered in Malawi.

November 2015
• A nice article about our plans appeared in the Belgian magazine ‘Gie & Ik’. Have a look
at ‘In the Press’ on this website.

October 2015
• Kudimba Foundation officially owns a beautiful piece of land at the lake in Lifuwu, Salima. It measures 0.68 Ha and is located right at the lake, so lots of water for our garden project!