It started with a journey. A chance to see a different way of life, to grow, to learn and explore. As with all the best journeys, it became so much more. A fateful trip to Malawi changed our lives forever. Not only did we meet and subsequently fall in love in this wonderful country, homeland to Gabriel, but it is here we found our vocation; a feeling of “home” and “belonging” that compelled us to stay.
Malawi is a place of beautiful extremes; magnificent scenery, incredible people with a love for life, extreme poverty, seemingly insurmountable pressures. But never ones to shy away from a challenge we decided to embark on a project that would prove to encourage us to dig deep, find our determination, use every ounce of resourcefulness and to truly understand the awesome power of working collaboratively with communities and the incredible things we can achieve when we work together.
So although Ellotte Future Building was created by “Sarah and Gabriel”, born through a shared ideology of community, empowerment and care, the project really has evolved from the support of everyone involved from those helping to build our Day Care Centre, to those sharing skills on site, sharing our website and spreading the word, and those donating to provide food, shelter, education, uniforms, resources and care to those children who need it the most.
We could share facts and figures and statistics of poverty and illiteracy rates, of the prevalence of HIV and number of orphans currently residing in our region of Nkhata Bay; we’ve all seen the headlines: African countries equals high infant mortality, high illiteracy, high poverty levels. But these facts do not even begin to tell the story. At Ellotte Future Building we prefer to empower, focusing on what we can do and what we have achieved. Since starting in 2011 we have built a daycare centre which will provide care and education for so many children in Nkhata Bay.
We are implementing a vocational skills centre which will help empower our community and allow people to really achieve their potential, free of barriers to learning and in turn, allowing them the opportunities many of us in the UK take for granted. We have been working with the community to educate on the benefits of biofuel and sustainable resource management, to protect biodiversity and to maintain traditions and heritage essential to a community’s identity.
This work is fantastic and is really making a difference here and now to the children, we work with. And what perhaps is the most humbling is seeing just how “little” you often need to make incredible things happen; £15 for example, can feed 16 children we care for three days! Back in the UK this amount would be unlikely to cover our lunchtime coffee bill for the week.
A child can be educated for £99 for the whole year! And we’re all aware of the endless possibilities that learning to read and write can bring. These empowering facts encourage us to keep going, and our hope is that one day every single child in the Nkhata Bay region will have all the tools needed to reach their full potential and that poverty will no longer limit them as a human being.
Well, the answer is plenty! Every like, every share, every conversation you have with your friends and family that spreads the message of our amazing work will help us to grow, to inspire, to engage and empower. From raising awareness of our incredible journey to sponsoring a child’s education you truly can make a difference. And by following our site at www.ellottefuturebuilding.com you can see exactly how your support is being used to build a better future, together.