Malawi.

From stepping off the plane, being hit by the Malawian heat. Seeing the children waiting in the airport with a sign for me, to the exuberant colours of an African sites indulges the senses. The rusty brown earth. The breath-taking sunset. Never have I been so welcomed. Malawi had become my home away from home. Our group of volunteers, some pale skin, blue eyes and light hair all these representing something that is foreign.

From my first day as I wander through in to the market place, I am overcome by the sights, sounds and smells of Africa. The clothes piling up on each market stall, people shouting for you to buy from them. The women sit by their stalls, weary from the day’s heat, trying to sell their produce for such a small price.

From the city into the local town towards the orphanage. The children shout “mzungu, mzungu!”, “white person, white person!” as they jump up and down excitedly. In the back of the truck driving town the bumpy old road we pull up to the beautiful girls orphanage. Their faces light us as you drive through, they hug you, laugh with you, sing and dance with you. You don’t just become their friend you become part of their family.

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With a previous volunteer we started off a cake business. Some of the girls taking their first ever trip into town, into the unknown. Helping the girls have faith that there is more to life, they can achieve, be successful and building their ambitions. Watching the old girls teach the younger girls how to use a knife and fork was such a heartfelt moment.

Starting off with team building exercises, seeing the excitement on the girls faces, the drive and the enthusiasm which they had working together in competition with each other to succeed. The girls taking a trip to an event, face to face sales and achieving just over 20’000MK was a very proud moment. They showed their drive that they wanted to learn, this making every second spent with them worthwhile. A small group of the older girls then came together, designing posters, baking trays and pulling a pitch together. One of the girls calling to book a meeting with the hostel and two of the girls pitching to them was overwhelming. To see the change in the girls from the day I walked to the orphanage to what they had achieved was touching.

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Driving for hours away from the city, through fields and dirt paths to a town which would change your life. Seeing the way which they live to your life back at home. 2 school buildings had been built and the porridge project had just begun. Handing school uniforms to the children, bras to the women and clothes to the men makes you release how much we and everyone around you at home takes for granted.

Having a little boy in front of me begin to cry and run away as he seen me, but I can’t blame him for being frightened of the unknown. It is not only the way I look that is foreign to them. It is the way I walk, the way I talk, my disbelief as to what I am seeing. During those moments, I realise that this is going to be the experience of a lifetime, and while I can’t even imagine the adventures that lay before me, I am determined to make a difference.

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These children give you hope and you believe they appreciate every second which you spend with them. Alice and Nina the charity founders are such amazing, inspiring, beautiful women and seeing everything they have achieved is extraordinary. Me and all the volunteers couldn’t have been more welcomed. From the nights out, to the weekends away and the passion which they have for the charity. LSU and Tilinanu will always be part of my life and I’m already counting down the until I return.

Malawi is truly my home away from home.

A great big thank you to Katrina Ralph for this post, a magnificent insight into volunteering opportunities in Malawi 

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Volunteer in Malawi

ABOUT

‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’

A reason to volunteer for each day of the week… LSU5

  1. Perfect for time out of studies, a gap year, a different summer break or Christmas Break. You choose when you want to go and for how long.
  2. The projects are tailored to your skills and passion, that enables you get the most of your trip.
  3. Meet friends that you’ll share that experience with forever.
  4. Actually make a difference to people lives and the local community.
  5. Broaden your horizons and develop as a person.
  6. Enhance your CV and increase your chances of being noticed by a prospective employer or University.
  7. Have an incredible experience that will change your life.

PROJECTS


We believe volunteers should have a voice. Our programs are designed after consultation with you (the volunteer) and the local community. Tailoring your package means you can make the most positive, lasting impact and you can see the full effects.

LSU7We like to think we are a hub for personal growth, knowledge and funding to achieve a united goal. We are open to fresh ideas to expand our programmes and continually improve.
These are some examples of our current projects:

    • School Teaching; instil passion within the teachers and empower them with new teaching styles
    • Sports; an excellent way to integrate different cultures, ages and sexes whilst breaking down social barriers
    • Musical Projects; musical is a universal language that transcends boundaries and bonds people even thousands of miles apart
    • Skills Workshops; providing adults with essential skills from cooking to small business management
    • Building Projects; re-roofing, building classrooms, places floors, re-building houses etc
    • Medical Placements; introducing modern technologies, aiding the improvement of a basic human right

WHY VOLUNTEER WITH INVAID


We like to think we are unique. We give you control of your fundraised money.
LSU4

  • Our volunteers see the positive influence of their money whilst on location.
  • We can place you with whoever and whenever. Just you, friends, family or University society. For a year, a week or a break from your studies.
  • We tailor your trip to your skills base and passion. Allowing the local community to fully benefit from your hard work.
  • 100% of the fundraised money goes directly the local community.

Your safety is a priority. For this reason we limit our numbers so we can spend quality time preparing and covering all aspects on our orientation courses.

  • In country back-up, support and advice 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Safety and security, giving you up-to-date knowledge before departure awareness and common sense.

Also, you can enjoy two nights free at the beautiful Lake Malawi post or prior your project.

LSU2What we have achieved so far:

  • Vaccinated 70,000 people
  • Provided medical advice
  • Rebuilt homes and schools
  • Enable communities to have safe drinking water
  • Provided skills workshops so people can use computers and other technology.

PROCESS

Stage One
When we receive your application we will assess your suitability and then we’ll get in touch with you to discuss what you are looking to get out of your volunteering project, in this conversation we will discuss your passions, skills and availability. If our needs and your needs marry up we will then ask for a deposit of £100 to secure your project once the project details and dates have been provisionally confirmed.

LSU8Stage Two
After the deposit has been paid we will work together to complete a more detailed plan of your project, come up with a fundraising plan and send you over any training material or information that you may need to be prepared for your project. At this stage you will then be required to pay the remaining project fee.

Stage Three
After everything is confirmed, it’s then a case of fundraising for your project! We’ll then put you in touch with our flight partners who will assist you with all your airline needs then closer to departure we’ll help you with your visas and, when appropriate, provide a UK briefing!

Stage Four (The Best Stage)
By this stage everything will be finalised so it’s time to travel to Malawi and get volunteering! Remember, you’ll have a team meeting you from the plane and then 24/7 support to make your experience as safe and enjoyable as possible.

COSTS

Depending on the project of your choice the cost is broken down as follows:

LSU6Project Cost Breakdown:

  • Project Cost – £595
  • Fundraised Target – From £200 – £1,500 (Project dependent)

Costs Excluded:

  • Flights – £400 – £800
  • Living Cost – £20 – £100 per week (Project dependent)

What’s included:

  • On the ground 24hour emergency assistance
  • British Experienced mentor close by
  • A safe and comfortable place to stay – accommodation in housing or local housing
  • Housing amenities
  • Transport to first shopping trip and getting started advice such as changing of money, medical supplies, food supplies etc
  • Airport collection and drop off
  • Secure safe for travel documents
  • Organisation of weekend break
  • Introduction to accommodation in social hostel and meals for first 1-3 days to team build and allow individuals to make friends with other volunteers.LSU9
  • Local language teacher
  • Professional locally based staff providing care, attention, assistance and support thorough your entire stay.
  • Outgoing international phone service for emergencies
  • Local SIM cards on arrival
  • Variety of different mobile networks allowing guardians to be reassured that their loved ones are well.

What’s not included:

  • Airfare to programme
  • Immunisation
  • Airport departure taxes, visa extensions and fees
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal expenditure
  • Meals

TESTIMONIALS

LSU1“To anyone who wishes to volunteer or fundraise for a foundation that are truly committed to their goals, I would recommend this, as I have never in my many experiences of volunteering been involved with a company that are so honest and full of love and passion for what they do.”
Luca Bogen

“It was the most amazing, beautiful and humbling experience of my life! I was treated so nice by everyone involved and learnt so much from my trip. Such a GOOD company, love definitely comes first! Makes a huge change from all the other gap year projects out there, was good to know exactly where all money was going and to be able to see it help people positively and effectively.”
Cat Oliver

“The experience was truly amazing, and something that I think about every day. If you are looking to embark on an experience that will not only change your life, but will impact on the life of many others, then this is for you”
Laura Birthwhiltle

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