Kathryn in Malawi
Kathryn grew up in Lincoln, training as a Teaching Assistant and working at a school for children with disabilities before moving to Malawi in January 2006.
Years Working in Africa
Kathryn Katchimanga has lived in Malawi since 2006 and recently married Lameck in a double celebration in Malawi and the UK.
Kathryn has turned her hands to many things including working at a Crisis Centre for abandoned babies; working with children from disadvantaged homes; planning and building a youth centre with her local church; helping inmates in a local prison; taking drama workshops; teaching art at a local school; and hosting youth groups … to name but a few! Her passion to see Malawi changed for the better continues to grow stronger than ever…
In her new her day job Kathryn works with the Lilongwe Wildlife Trust, involved in special events, campaigns and has an overview of the education programme .
Today we were in the mall eating an ice cream. (Yes, that right, a mall! The first to be built in Malawi!) We were totally shocked to see a 20-foot Christmas tree with lights, carols and all. To say Malawi has changed in the cities over the last 14 years is an understatement. Sadly, this is not reflected everywhere and just a 10-minute drive will take you to a shanty town with open sewers and school class sizes of up to a 100 children.
I have been working at The Lilongwe Wildlife Trust for 9 months now, and the best part is that my work takes me back into these rural areas. My role is focused on education and campaigns and as each month passes, that role has become more and more important to me.
I love going into schools and talking about ways children can help protect their environment; talking to men’s groups about ways they can set up small businesses that will keep them away from poaching – a crime with a sentence of up to 30 years in jail; and teaching women how to make fuel briquettes to sell, so they don’t need to walk miles to fetch fire wood.
I am gaining such varied and important skills; meeting influential people, but also interacting daily at grass roots level.”
In her free time she works as a volunteer with DIPD working in rural areas alongside families that have children with disabilities. She says,
The work with DIPD, working in rural areas alongside families that have children with disabilities, continues to go well. We hold regular fund raising events and we give our time freely. The training of 50 pre-school teachers is ongoing. Not only are the teachers gaining vital teacher training, but we are also helping them to develop curriculums and improve school settings to allow easier integration of children with disabilities into schools. This is such a worthwhile course and I love being part of the team of volunteers that work on this project. We have recently had a big push on fund-raising as things are growing rapidly, and it is very apparent that a small team of weekend volunteers is no longer enough to cover the number of children and their families we are trying to help. We are hoping the money raised will allow us to employ a full time Rehabilitation Technician, with housing near the project.”
Kathryn used to work as a teacher at Bambino, where she established a special needs department for children with learning disabilities such as autism, Downs Syndrome and Cerebal Palsy.
Although I miss the children at Bambino, I am still a regular visitor and sit on the board to make sure it’s still running and performing for the benefit of children with special needs.
Being part of this culture and community means so much to me. Working alongside organisations and helping to develop meaningful programmes and activities that can, and will change lives, is a privilege and one that I don’t take lightly.”
Want to Donate?
Much of Kathryn’s work is voluntary and she depends on donations from individuals to fund the things she does in her spare time. You can donate by visiting our MyDonate page, and putting ‘Kathryn’ in the more info’ box.