A modest donation of fuel wood by CDH Investment Bank has exposed resilient challenges being faced by Courageous Kids Foundation deep inside Chilobwe Township at hard-to-reach area of Naotcha -- a youth-led residential home and school that takes care of 70 street-rescued vulnerable kids.
Managed by its founder, Courageous Msasa -- a 28-year-old former street begging child -- amongst its most needs is fuel wood to prepare hard earned food, which CDH Investment Bank has relieved them off through the huge tree logs it donated on Tuesday.
CDH Investment Bank's marketing manager, Nancy Bisika said through the effects of Cyclone Ana in January, one of the huge trees that add ambience at their premises in Blantyre, fell down and they proceeded to chop it into logs.
As they were deciding whom to donate the logs, "who could make good use of them to make their lives better", CDH Investment Bank officials came to know of the existence of Courageous Kids Foundation through the founder Courageous' visibility and fliers she distributed highlighting the challenges that the school and home faces.
"We learnt that Courgaeous Kids does not have solid sponsors and spends about K8,000 a day to procure firewood for use to provide morning porridge and after school meals," Bisika said.
"Of late, the Foundation has been struggling to afford firewood and at times kids are left without food and as such we thought we could help them with the tree logs to be used for cooking and for warmth during this cold winter season.
"This was the least noble thing we could do because we didn't want the logs to benefit those who can afford but those in dire need of them -- thus we decided to respond to Courageous' plea for assistance of one of their daily needs."
She added that this was also an opportunity for them to expose the challenges being faced at the Foundation so that other well-wishers can consider reaching out and supporting the noble charitable work that Courageous and her team are undertaking in taking care of the street-rescued kids and giving them basic education.
"Courageous has been very 'courageous' indeed and we hope through the media, their noble work should reach out to as many as possible so that they can receive proper support from concerned well-wishers," Bisika said.
Indeed, the Courageous Kids Foundation needs support to complement what this 28-year-old former street beggar, who said she was rescued from her plight by Mulanje-based academic centre, Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO) at the age of 13.
Upon completing her modest education she ventured into business -- first to sustain herself and her sibling sister -- but she felt it duty bound to accommodate some street kids, saying she just not could watch them experience the harsh environment she endured.
She said: "With the little money I could raise, I kept accepting more kids and I decided to give the little ones some basic education from nursery stage up to primary level where they enroll into government schools.
"As the number of children grew, our traditional chief advised us that we needed to liaise with the Social Welfare officials to make this into a recognised orphanage and we managed to have the Foundation officially registered."
She disclosed that she teaches the elder children arts and crafts, whose products such as key holders and brooms, she sells for their upkeep and that through her visibility campaign she manages to attract some sponsors -- that included Blantyre Round Table who donated some blankets and beds for the girls' dormitories.
As of Tuesday, she was raising funds towards paying her rentals at K510,000 three-months advance (K170,000 a month); replenishing her electricity units, which she spends at K12,000 a month and water at K6,000 a month.
"We have run out of pens, pencils and exercise books, of which I am appeal to well-wishers to assist with," she said, adding that she has been given six months notice to vacate since the landlord intends to sell the house, saying she has also been offered to buy at K25 million.
"I can't raise that much and it means I have to look for an alternative accommodation for these 70 children," she sorrowfully said. "I can't abandon them -- we are family because we share the same background.
"These kids are geniuses in their studies and we have managed to produce two [for tertiary education] -- one to the University of Malawi, a girl studying Bachelor of Science and a boy studying Bachelor of Sports Science at Malawi University of Science & Technology (MUST).
"None of my students -- except those physically challenged -- attain 2 digit positions in their exams in the public schools. The student that got selected to MUST attained 14 points in his Malawi School Certificate of Examinations."
She said they treat each other as family and every member does their chores just like any Malawian family setting and that she receives encouraging moral support from her neighbourhood.
This is what CDH Investment Bank wanted to be exposed through this donation hoping "to grow awareness on the self-less works that Courageous Kids Foundation is offering and get more organisations to help this youthful team".
"This fits in our group's corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy which aims at supporting the vulnerable," Bisika said. "As a specialist Bank, we are committed to helping organisation grow.
"We hope our activity shall encourage other well-wishers to come forward and help these youths, who are positively contributing to the good of the nation."