Solar-power lights provided by a Guardian-reader supported fund are brightening prospects for teachers as well as pupils in a country where 90% of people live off-grid.
Fresh funding is essential if the village of Gumbi is to continue to pull itself out of poverty. A charitable venture created by Guardian environment editor John Vidal that supports two schools in Malawi has raised nearly £9,000 in the last 15 months and put another 75 children through secondary school in one of the poorest and least literate communities in the world.
Concern had just completed a huge three-day government food distribution to 5,000 people from the 67 surrounding villages. Tonnes of maize, soya and groundnut seeds had been given out – enough to grow more than 600 acres of fields. “Now it only needs the rains, expected in the next two weeks. People are very optimistic,” said Stephen John Tsoka of Concern. “This is like Christmas,” said Forster, a young Malawian sat on a 50kg sack of maize, with a bag of seeds and precious fertiliser at his feet. “Just two hours ago everyone was dancing. We are very happy.”
Four times in the space of a year, John Vidal visited Gumbi, perhaps the poorest village in one of the poorest countries in the world, Malawi. At first it was beset by famine, but as months went by, help arrived, the rains came, the village rallied – and learned a whole new way of taking on the future.