Eston and Molly traveled to the Home of Hope Orphanage near Mchinji to meet the founder and director of the orphanage, Reverend Thomson John Chipeta, this past Thursday. The meeting is the first of many to prepare for a six-month apprenticeship offered to two young women and two young men at the orphanage.

Kusamala is preparing to receive the four apprentices in August as part of a partnership with Seeds of Change. Seeds of Change, an organization based out of California and founded by Michael Seligman and Jared Newman, have raised money to sponsor the four apprentices with the sole purpose for them to develop an in-depth understanding and practice of permaculture. This will be the second group of apprentices to visit and study at the Centre and we’re very excited to work with them.

Home of Hope Orphanage is located at the base of forested mountains in Mchinji. It’s rare to see forest in Malawi, but the government is protecting the area surrounding the orphanage. It’s an ideal location; fed by spring water, their agriculture has great potential. The majority of their crops are grown traditionally – mono cropping of beans, sweet potatoes, and maize. There’s not much diversity, but between the farm on site and two other farms owned by the director the orphanage has enough food to support approximately 620 children and 200 staff – a very impressive feat. We propose to work with them on phasing out their heavy reliance on fertilizer, move to composting and intercropping, while increasing the diversity of crops they grow.

The apprentices will learn the techniques we use and the intention is for them to be able to teach and implement these techniques at the farm on a large-scale. We are also planning on having the apprentices learn from the work we’re doing at the Chikondi and Mphatso Orhan Care Centre in Lilongwe with SKIP, a student run charity in Glasgow. The two programs compliment each other and they will not only work together, but learn together as well.

To learn more about Home of Hope orphanage visit their website here and to learn more about SKIP, visit a blogpost about our partnership here.