With Change In Mind Projects

With Change In Mind works in communities that are both in need and have demonstrated a desire to find solutions. It is our ambition to assist communities with resources they wouldn’t otherwise have access to while at the same time collaborating on long term sustainable success. We always want to work side by side with local people who are invested in the change within their own villages. WCIM always seeks to use local labor when needed and source materials locally. This gives us the opportunity to support the local economy while at the same time offering a hand up to those in need. WCIM wishes to help community leaders and local people find long term solutions to their everyday struggles. Once this is accomplished we can  eventually move on to serve new communities that are lacking support and resources. Currently With Change In Mind is working hand in hand with a community located near Salima, Malawi. We recently completed construction of our first school! Nkhalango Ya Mango (Forest of Mangos) Kindergarten will serve 60 children living in Chutila Village.  We have many projects planned for this incredible community. We are looking forward to creating a school that will eventually be self-sustaining. We know this will be a long term project and we are so excited to work along side this community. Education, food stability and nutrition will be our main areas of focus.

Nkhalango Ya Mango, which means Forest of Mangos in Chichewa, is the name of the school that With Change In Mind built in 2017. The community asked WCIM to build this school in order to introduce education and its importance to people living in Chutila and the surrounding communities. Since the school was built, we have seen an increase in children who are registering for primary school (grade school), and the students who have graduated from our program have become some of the top students when they move on. This project is BIG and will be ongoing for several years. We currently have 40 children enrolled. There’s a lot of work left to do, but we know our volunteers are going to really enjoy investing in the future of this amazing place. WCIM works in partnership with the communities we serve to provide long-term sustainable solutions for the issues the community indicates.
Almost exactly one year after the school opened, WCIM was able to add a small library to the back of the school house. The library is not only used for the kindergarten students but is also used during our after school program for the older children in the community. We continue to collect books to help fill this special space!
The indoor Kitchen has been a big project! With Change In Mind board members, community leaders, and elders recognized that Nkhalango Ya Mango Kindergarten was lacking a place where meals could be cooked for the students. Prior to the plan for the kitchen being built, over 400 meals per week were prepared on the ground over a fire. A solution was desperately needed. An indoor/outdoor cook house has been designed and funded and will be built in 2019. Our volunteers will have the opportunity to work alongside a local building crew for a portion of the construction. The kitchen will be used 5 days a week for the school and can also serve the community for other events. WCIM has parent volunteers who have been cooking all of the meals for the students, and they look forward to seeing this building completed!
In 2017, alongside construction of the school, our team of volunteers worked with the WCIM staff and community members to create a large garden. Our volunteers and staff mapped out garden beds, removed debris from the site, and helped to till the land. Once the new garden had been set up, a variety of foods were able to be grown. The garden that was started in 2017 has grown over the last few years and is now providing many healthy foods. It also has been used as an income generator for the school, as we are able to use a portion of what is grown to be sold at market to help fund garden supplies and seeds. The WCIM food program uses a percentage of the food from the garden to add fresh vegetables to our menu for the children in the kindergarten program. The children are also able to assist our staff in the garden and learn how to grow healthy food. The garden is grown without any store bought fertilizers, and permaculture techniques are used as often as possible. Our senior project manager and Agriculture and Maintenance Officer, Tovia and Joseph, oversee the upkeep of the garden. Our large garden has also been used as a training ground for members of the surrounding community. Villagers come to learn from Joseph and are then able to use those skills to improve their own gardens.
In 2018, WCIM was approached by members of the community that live near our kindergarten school. These men and women told us that they wanted to learn to read and write in their local language. Once adults in the community began to see the benefits of the education their children were getting, they wanted to participate too! We hired a teacher, and these classes now run three days a week in the afternoon hours. Our first group has been small, but we are hearing that wonderful progress is being made and that the adults are loving this course.
With Change In Mind has a deep commitment to building skills and promoting wellness to ensure sustainability within communities. The community requested family planning training. We were able to respond to the needs of this community by providing education and skill-building for the men and women in the village. This training corrected inaccurate illness perceptions and helped community members understand available family planning methods. WCIM was lucky to partner with Micromass Communications, and they created and taught this training for us. “We created a family planning curriculum that reviews anatomy, reproduction, and family planning methods for men and women in this community,” says Alyson Connor, president of Micromass Communications. “Studies show that women who space their children are healthier, their families have better health outcomes, and there are more resources available to these women and their families.” “We hope the long-term impact will be visible as women make family planning choices that make sense to them and their families,” Mrs. Connor says.
Our After School Program offers children who attend both primary and secondary school an opportunity to benefit from the resources the school provides. Our full time teacher Hassan runs this program once the kindergarten children have gone home for the day. Students have access to the library, homework help, and all kinds of other activities. Some of the things the children love the most are helping in the garden, learning about how to take care of the environment, playing sports, reading the books in library, and helping act as mentors to our kindergarten students. We hope to continue to grow this program and add additional services and resources in the future.