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Music, mountains and murals make Malawi memories

Monday 16 September 2019

The 44 sixth form students from The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL) who spent three weeks in Malawi this summer will never forget their experiences and the people they met.

With fundraising ongoing for the school’s Malawi project all year round, the biennial tour to the country is an opportunity for students and staff to see for themselves how the money helps some of Africa’s poorest communities.

Based at GSAL’s partner school Kamuzu Academy for the first week, the students delivered 283 boxes of educational materials to primary schools in the district. They applied the finishing touches to newly built classrooms funded by the Malawi project by painting the curriculum onto the walls.

Kamaza Primary School took a special delivery from Rose Court children, who collected backpacks filled with school essentials for their peers in Malawi. Chilanga School for the Blind received a selection of musical instruments donated by GSAL families and staff and medical items were donated to Kasungu District Hospital.

The tour headed south for the last week, where they sang for the children at the Mango Tree Nursery and helped distribute meals at the Malama feeding station to children, the elderly and those affected by HIV. They donated electron microscopes to Malamulo Hospital and delivered equipment and medicine to the Blantyre SPCA animal sanctuary. At Jacaranda School for Orphans, pupils entertained the visitors with traditional songs and dances.

Student Ishak Rouf said: “It was eye-opening and humbling to see where the money goes. The people we met were so welcoming and warm hearted, it was really touching to make a connection with them and see how they value the things we take for granted in the UK.”

The trip wasn’t all hard work; the tourists also visited attractions including the Luangwa Game Park in Zambia and the Game Haven wildlife lodge. They enjoyed a tea tasting session at Satemwa Tea Estate and a visit to Mandala House, a museum and restaurant. They hiked along the Ruo gorge to climb Mulanje mountain, and enjoyed rest and relaxation on the shores of Lake Malawi.

This year’s tour raised £16,000, which after funding the shipping of donated goods was distributed among community projects chosen by the students. The Malawi project has to date raised almost £0.5m in the 30 years since it started at Leeds Girls’ High School.

Find The Zikomo Trust on Instagram to see more photos from the tour.

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