Ten young people succesfully follow vocational training

This year Eva Demaya Centre offered vocational training to 10 young (19-25 years old) women and men. The trainees are chosen from the surrounding villages through their community structures such as community-based organization and village development committees with confirmation of the local chiefs. The selected youngsters all had neither formal skills nor tertiary education qualifications and had no means of sustaining their livelihoods, which gives them a prospect of being trapped in poverty with all its related problems.
The vocational training offered by the Centre is an exceptional opportunity for the chosen trainees to learn a profession which gives them the possibility to set up their own businesses. The training equips the students with skills and knowledge in order for them to be self-reliant with the skills gained.
Once the training is completed, the professional young men and women offer their vocational services to the community who in their turn benefit from it as clients having access to their business services.

This year Eva Demaya Centre provided vocational training in tailoring (to 4 women) and bicycle maintenance (6 men). The training includes an extensive practical part and a week-long course in business management, to enable them to set up and manage their own business. At the end of the full training every trainee receives a starter pack with all necessary tools and materials for them to set up their own business.
The tailoring courses lasted from April to end October 2022, and for bicycle mechanics there were two 3 month’s courses for 3 men each. After all the groups had finished the practical training, they attended together a one-week course in business management, which was facilitated by Mr Simbeye from Rumphi District, who works as a Community Development Assistant under the Ministry of Gender, Children and Disability and Social Welfare. The business training included topics such as general understanding and increasing knowledge in running a business, using production and quality management measures, product costing and defining selling prices, calculating profit and loss in business, importance of record-keeping and what marketing strategies can be followed.

This year’s programme did face some economical challenges, because of a cost-of-living crisis in Malawi all training materials and food items were suddenly very expensive. However the Centres employees managed to finish all the training programmes, without delay and without anyone dropping out, which is a great achievement.
Festivities for the certificate ceremony were sober this year, due to the financial problems. But in a formal gathering the tailoring students showed their own-made beautiful dresses while all students received their certificate and working package. And of course the group-2022 is immortalized on a picture…

12 students graduate for vocational training

At the end of November the 2020 vocational training closed down with a festive ceremony at the Eva Demaya Centre.

Following last year’s promise 12 young people were selected to follow the vocational training which is organised on a yearly basis at the Centre.
The aim of this training is to educate a small group of young, vulnerable people in a profession, that can potentially offer them opportunities to build their own small business and gain an income for themselves. The professional young men and women offer their vocational services in tailoring, bicycle repair or tin smithing to their communities, which in their turn benefit.
In this years training a few things were unusual. First there was Covid-19, which compelled to take measures against infections and spread of the virus. Lessons only were started after the situation of Covid in Northern Malawi was a bit better. And of course also general measures of distance and hygiene were followed, including the use of face masks.
It was the first time a training in basis computer skills was added to the vocational programme. Two young ladies were selected to follow courses at a small company in Bolero, instead of at the Centre.
In the tailoring classes a young man with a physical diability was selected, for who some adaptations were needed to learn practical skills. There was also extra attention for some students who lacked the ability to make notes for themselves to study theoretical explanations.

On the 28th of November the graduation ceremony was held for all students, their parents, instructors and some village representatives.
The ceremony was led by Mrs Florence Chafuwa Gondwe, a board member of the Foundation. During her speech she encouraged the trainees to be focused on whatever they do and have vision of who to become in the near future by using the skills gained from the training. Mrs Gondwe handed the certificates to the graduating students and all of them received an appropriate start-up kit, which will help them to launch their own business.
The students were grateful for the opportunity given to them, remarking that it will really uplift their lives and allow them to live in a more self-reliant way. There was also gratitude to the Eva Demaya Centre and Director Jacqueline Kouwenhoven for the continued support and services rendered to the communities.

Eva Demaya officially hands over Luviri Secondary School to the Malawi government

Eva Demaya is again on the map in Malawi after a very successful and enjoyable event on Monday 28 September.
That day Luviri Secondary School was officially handed over to the Malawi government.

The ceremony was a very high profile one, covered by all the major media outlets here, as the guest of honour was the First Lady of Malawi, Mrs Monica Chakwera, wife of the new State President, His Excellency Lazarus Chakwera. The First Lady comes from the Luviri area, appreciates the work of the Centre so she was delighted to accept Jacqueline’s invitation to come and cut the ribbon to mark the official hand-over.

The First Lady’s speech emphasized the vital importance of education as a driver of national development. Luviri Secondary School can bring enormous benefits to many young people for years to come.

Also present was the Minister of Education, Mrs Agnes Nyalonje, who in her speech cited the achievement of Eva Demaya in creating this beautiful school as an example to the whole country of what is possible with energy, vision, skill and sound use of financial resources. The high quality of the construction of the various buildings was noted by both speakers. The donors in the Netherlands were extensively praised and thanked for making the whole project possible.
A pleasant surprise was the Malawi government’s confirmation that it would supply the school with beds, mattresses, books and desks.

While the First Lady’s presence gave a lot of extra preparatory work for this big event, the organisation was more than rewarded by the extremely positive and extensive publicity resulting from it. Everyone has commented that the school looks magnificent and general hope is that it will become operational as soon as the Covid-19 situation in Malawi allows.

Vocational training in progress

At the Centre the 2020 vocational training has started.
Due to the current situation regarding the Covid-19 virus, some extra measures are in place, but the management at the Centre is very pleased she can offer the vocational training also this year.

In total 12 young people will be trained in a profession that gives an opportunity to earn money. There are 2 people extra this year because there were two vacancies last year. The current students are selected from different villages, mostly because they missed education in their childhood, due to poverty or family situations. The current students are between 19 and 30 years old.

The 12 students (6 girls and 4 boys) are being trained in tailoring (6), bicycle maintenance (4) and in ICT (2). The training for bicycle repair takes 3 months and will be given two times for 2 students each.

An innovation this year is the selection of a new discipline. The training for ICT skills is added in order to empower the youths in rural communities to apply these new skills in favour of themselves and their community.
 This training is the first that is given by an external, small commercial company in Bolero, which is about 10 kilometres from the Centre. Two young women follow the courses and accommodation in Bolero is arranged for them for the duration of the courses.

This training program is really breaking new ground for the girls, who come from the rural areas where electricity is not available at all times. They both have not worked with computers before and they will be trained in basic knowledge in operating a PC and in office programs as Excel and Word. It is expected that the training will provide a good outlook for a job for them.

The training programs are progressing well. Two students who suffered from malaria were absent for a short time, but now they are recovered and back on track. Both instructors and students are well motivated and work hard to get the best out of the coming months.

Building hostels at Luviri school

In January Eva Demaya Centre started phase 3 of the construction of Luviri Secondary School. This last phase concerns the building of two hostels were male and female students can live during their study.

This year there were heavy rains and the start of phase 3 was therefore a bit slow. The rains led to impassable paths to the site for trucks delivering bricks, sand and quarry. But in the months March and April the builders and labourers caught up on the original planning and progress is going on well.

The pictures accompanying this post give a good impression of the progress in the building process of the different buildings. Each of the two primary buildings can accommodate 75 young people, latrines, bathrooms and kichens are separate buildings.

Building activities are on schedule now and activities go quite smooth with the experienced workers under the supervision of the chief builder Mr Bosco Zgambo and with the coordination from the Eva Demaya Centre.

At the end of April the activities have not yet been delayed by any measures taken by the Malawian government due to the Covid-19-virus. One of these measures is the closure of all schools in Malawi. But it is expected that the new Luvirischool can open its doors as planned at the start of the coming school year, in September.

Final building phases for Luviri school

There is still a lot of activity on the building site of the Luviri school. All the workers make their best effort to have most of the work ready, just before the rain season starts.
Two of the four staff houses have been painted, with plumbing work for bathrooms done and flooring ready. Also a brick sealer has been applied for the breeze blocks to look shiny. A lot of work is also done to dig 8 pit latrines for the staff houses and foundation for bathroom and kitchens have been done. Also the administration block is looking nice with his iron roof sheets and shiny brick sealer. And moulding of building blocks has stopped because there is enough for the remaining construction work.

Overall, progress is visible, and the expectation of a successful last phase of the project seems justified.
For the coming time, good coordination at all levels must be maintained including the good collaboration with donors, the government through Ministry of education for the advisory support as well as monitoring.

There has been a meeting between Jacqueline and Mr Moyo, the highest official of the Ministry of Education in the northern region of Malawi.
Subject in their conversation was of course the Luviri secondary school. The ministry of Education plan to open the school with the beginning of the new school year in August 2020. The number of students that can start, is under discussion.
It is quite certain that the school can start as a day school, with one class for students from the nearby villages.
But to have the school fully operational with more classes, students from the whole district should be selected. For their housing hostels are needed, for both boys and girls. Plans to build these hostels are currently studied by the Stichting Eva Demaya in the Netherlands, which is asked to provide funding.

Second phase Luviri school started

In april the second phase of building activity started.
First two senior houses are to be built. These houses are in the last stadium of finishing, with roofing done, electrical wiring in place and plastering done.

At the moment work on the administration block started. Window level to beam level and next to gable level is done and preparations for roofing are made now.


All building activities are quite successful, delivery of materials were always in good time, which is an enormous achievement.
Furthermore labor efficiency and teamwork of the builders is very good.
On the other side the project suffered from water shortages at the project site due to some villagers deliberately breaking the main pipe to serve their cattle with water for drinking. This problem has been sorted out by engaging chiefs surrounding the villages to discuss with the communities surrounding the project area.

Baarnsch Lyceum donates school desks

In May a total of 50 school desks have been donated to 3 different secondary schools in northern Malawi.

The funding for buying these desks came from the Baarnsch Lyceum in the Netherlands, where students organized several actions to raise funds for charity purposes during Christmas time last year.
Their donations to the Stichting Eva Demaya was directly transferred to the Eva Demaya Centre in Malawi, where the Administration Office facilitated the purchase and transportation of the desks to the chosen schools.

De desks were purchased from Mapanga Furniture in Blantyre, who is the main supplier of school desks in Malawi. They have desks of good quality. One desk seats two students.
From Blantyre these desks were delivered to Mzuzu Administration Office and thereafter transport was organised to deliver the desks at the Centre in Rumphi. The Centre organised transport to deliver the desks to schools in Bembe (20 desks), Mwazisi (20 desks) en Lundu (10 desks). These schools were selected upon seeing that some students were sitting on the floor due to inadequate desks.
Needless to say the students and teachers are very pleased with the new furniture, which will certainly contribute to better learning results and to a better physical health of the students.

Festive ceremony phase one Luviri school

Eva Demaya organised a ceremony marking the closing of phase 1 project on 22nd March 2019, even though there were a few final touches remaining to be finalised. The ceremony intended to allow the community see and appreciate the progress of the project and also inform them about the starting of 2nd phase two activities in April 2019.

Eva Demaya Centre appreciates Wilde Ganzen and Eva Demaya in the Netherlands for funding the first phase project activities for it to be a success.
Among other participants who attended the function were Chiefs, a representative from Rumphi district Education Office (PEA), the land donor, students and people around the community.

The adjacent pictures show some of the activities that have taken place. Like making of drains, painting of window panes, fixing window glasses and air vents and finalizing by painting the last details.


End of phase one is nearing

Many activities take place in the building process of the Luviri school. The two school blocks and two staff houses in phase one of the project are near to completion. This means that tubing and wiring for electrifying is done, the framework for the ceiling is made, plastering, flooring, pointing and skirting on the outside walls is worked on. And with the first coat painting of the walls inside, the staff houses look beautiful.
So far the project is going on well with manageable challenges. The first phase of the project will be finished by March end 2019.