Building an Orphanage

My last project, teaching and building a school block at Chikale School in Malawi, is nearly complete. Alice Leaper,  from Butterfly Lodge, is currently managing the builders and the building is in the final stages.  I am now collaborating with ‘Tilinanu,’ a registered charity founded by Alice Pulford and her family. Tilinanu Orphanage provides a home, food, education and love to 40 girls. I will be collaborating with Tilinanu on a new exciting project, building a boys orphanage in Lilongwe!

My recent experience in Malawi at Chikale Primary School was hugely inspiring. I never imagined that with the help from friends, family and organisations, so much could be achieved in such a small amount of time. A school block has been built, with two large rooms which means that 200 children can now be taught in classrooms instead of having their lessons outdoors. This accomplishment filled me with inspiration, motivation, warmth and the belief that a difference really can be made. It was a really rewarding experience!

On my last day in Malawi, I was in Lilongwe (the capital city). I had just visited the bank and was walking to the supermarket when I saw a young boy being strangled by two older boys. I stopped and shouted at the two older boys to get off him, the young boy looked terrified. After the boy had got his breath back, I took him to get some food. He told me his name was Doud and he was 13 years old. Doud is HIV positive, and has been living on the street for over a year and a half. He said he would like to be taken to an orphanage or a safe place.

I rang my lovely friend Nina Pulford, who happened to be in Lilongwe at the same time as me, volunteering at Tilinanu Girls Orphanage, the orphanage Alice her younger sister had built. Nina, Mercy (a Malawian lady and who supports the girls with Tilinanu Girls Orphanage) and I, then spent the day trying to get Doud to a safe place. It was an incredibly frustrating experience. The systems in place to deal with troubled children like Doud and orphans in Malawi are practically non-existent. Nobody wanted to accept responsibility for him within the social services and he was even refused a place at a transit orphanage. Finally we were referred to a social rehabilitation centre, Doud was accepted temporarily.

Since leaving Malawi, I have kept in touch with Nina, who has been instrumental in attending meetings, getting involved and making sure the best decisions have been made for Doud. Still the problem remains, there are so many orphans and children like Doud living rough on the streets with no-where to go and no-one to care for them. It is heart-breaking.

Meeting Doud gave me an understanding of the difficulties that face many young children in Malawi. It was this encounter that compelled me to make the decision to want to help children like him. Tilinianu Girls Orphanage is already an existing charity, and Alice, Nina and their mum are doing an amazing and inspiring job. Teaming up with them to build a boy’s orphanage next door seems like an obvious step forward. I’ve already learnt that so little goes so far in Malawi and really does make a difference. If children, victims of abuse and orphans can be taken off the street and given a home, a chance of education, and access to health care and love, it will be a major accomplishment and will change the lives of so many.

The task of raising the £35,000 needed to complete a large building, for the boys orphanage, with plumbing, electricity and furniture is a challenge. Yet I realise from the response, generosity and care of people, it will be possible. I have already had so many friends and family show a massive interest. Already so many people have begun to raise money and get involved. I want to say THANK YOU and please, don’t stop!!!

If anyone has any ideas for fundraisers just go for it, if anyone knows any businesses, organisations or schools that maybe able to help, PLEASE CONTACT ME I can’t tell you how immensely appreciated it will be and how much of a difference it will make. It’s a huge task to raise so much money, I would love any help along the way!

To donate:

Thanks millions to all the fundraising events that have already taken place. Below are some of the ways people raised money for the school and orphanage.

Music Events

December 10 – Xmas Bass Mash-up – Big Thanks to Dave Evan’s, Matt Water’s Organik, Danger Bloodclaat, Sam Wright, Toni Loco, Ewan Simms, Peter Mitchell and Ben Vale Tenmen.

October 10 – Butterfly Lakeside Party, Malawi – DJs Buddha and White Noise Boy

March 10 – Malawi Fundraiser II – Big Thanks to Rumjig, Spafe (William Breakspear and Johnny One Move), Jess and Julia.

September 09 – Malawi Fundraiser I – Big Thanks to Ashfunk, Lark Lane Drummers, Johnny One Move, Rasp, Buddha, Geoff, Jess and Julia.

2009 – Feat Grapes Band – Big thanks to Mike Smith for organising it!

School Events

Massive thanks to St Hugh’s, St Christopher’s, Gayton Primary School, St Margaret’s in Manchester and Chikale school in Malawi for donations from Xmas card funds, Fun Days, School Fetes,  cake raffles and additional donations from the staff and children.

Friends and Family

Massive thanks for constant donations, competing in races, church collections, raffles, spreading the word and staff lottery wins – there has been so much support.



About Katie Bushell

32 year old primary school teaching travel monster, combining all things I love by setting up an education project in Nkhata Bay, Malawi.
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