Miral Foundation went to Malawi for 11 days from October 3rd to proceed with projects monitoring. We conduct various programs such as scholarships, providing students with meals and supporting the disabled via Deayang College of Nursing in Capital City, Lilongwe, Makande prison in Blantyre, the economic city, and Chisomo Center for the Disabled in the historic town of Nkhoma. Through this, we support self-reliance of people in need local staff dedicated to public health.
Visiting Malawi branch
Another Busy Morning in Makande
Writer⋅Photographer Green Jeong of International Cooperation Team
Referred to as “Africa’s Warm Heart”, Malawi is surrounded by Tanzania and Zimbabwe on the Northern and Southern borders, and Zambia and Mozambique on the west and Eastern borders. The geography is much like Korea which lies between China and Japan. Unlike other African countries which are usually covered with extensive grasslands, one can experience mountain ranges of up to 1,200m spread across the nation. The local environment is so much like Korea, it feels almost as if we were viewing the hilly regions of Jeju Island and thus the country felt familiar and comfortable.
Malawi was under British colonization for around 70 years beginning 1891. Perhaps it is because even its history resembles Korea’s tragic past, our affection and delight toward this country only grew as we learned more. So shall we begin our story in Malawi, Africa’s warm heart?
The first establishment we visited was located in Makande, a fertile country town within the economic city of Blantyre, 350km southeast of the capital, Lilongwe. Here, we cooperate with Makande Prison to provide nutritious meals to the children.
Makande Prison is a special institution run by Doctor Kim, Yong-Jin, by applying the Christian Farm program and attempts to support the rehabilitation of inmates with less than 2 years of time left. Based on the biblical concept of repentance, the inmates pay for their crimes through physical labor, the crops are used to aid the socially weak. So, how did the Prison Farm program and the Meal program meet?
When Dr. Kim first visited Malawi, the first thing he noticed was local children who were spending their time with nothing to do. The reason why these children were at home and not in school was because they were hungry. For these children who had difficulty eating even a single meal a day, the distance they needed to cover in order to attend class was too much so they all ended up at home. In order to remedy this, Dr. Kim began to set up a program to provide nutritious meals to allow them to go to school.
First, he began to grow corn, one of the main consumption products, with the inmate using the fertile farmland. The harvested corn is then processed and grounded into powder. Once the corn powder is prepared, the same amount of bean protein as well as vitamins and iron are added. This makes for a proper nutritious meal for children.
Once this meal powder is finished, it is mixed with water and boiled until ready to serve. This soup is a full meal which includes necessary vitamins as well as various other nutrients which still growing children need. This whole meal costs around 30 KRW! This is a result of massive reductions on labor cost since the entire process, from the cultivation of corn to creating the nutritious meal is done by inmates.
The finished meal powders are shared with each elementary school so that the meal program may continue. While this meal program was initially applied to regions experiencing critical health deficiencies, it now supports 30,000 students in the Blantyre region. Our foundation supports around 18,000 students at Meuiterae Elementary School and Chikpundi Disabled Center near Makande Prison.
Through this program, the children began to regain their health. The parents sent their children to school hoping they would at least be able to eat one meal a day so the attendance also went up. Maybe the town is now more relaxed, as we can now see the passion to learn in these children’s eyes.
The Makande Prison inmates labored to help others for the first time, with their own hand which in the past, were used to hurt or offend others. The corn that they harvested through sweat-drops of penance helped children to fill their stomach and help them to go back to school. They say that they are proud of themselves now that they feel they have become someone that the society needs.
Students who are heading to school, inmates who are preparing to work their crops. It is another busy morning in Makande. This was all possible due to sponsors who did not turn a blind eye towards those in need and willingly shared what they have. We hope our sponsors will continue to support us so that the peace in the town of Makande may go on.