Milonde is a community of 15000 people, spread over ten villages. It is a peasant farming community that sits at the foot of Mount Mulanje in South West Malawi. It has no electricity, no sanitation and water come from hand pumps. The farmers grow Maize, the staple diet, along with onions, tomatoes and root vegetables. If the rains come, they eat. If the rains fail or come as floods, they starve.

Spirit Aid has been working in partnership with the community since 2008. Our head of operations David Hayman, on his first visit, met with all the Chiefs of the ten villages and asked how Spirit Aid could, in partnership with the Community, help develop the resources that would improve the health, education and opportunities for the Young People of their villages. He returned to Milonde in March 2023, what follows is the result of that trip.

Milonde, Malawi 2023

Milonde has a population of 15,000.

There are 10 Villages in the South East corner of Malawi on the border with Mozambique.

We have been running projects in Milonde since 2008.

We feed around 1,500 pre-school Children and High School pupils every school day.

We created Training Workshops for Women in Sewing and Knitting.

We built a High School extension and upgraded the Dormitory for Girls.

We employ over 30 people as Project Leaders, Nursery Teachers, Cooks, Firemen and Security Guards.

Our Feeding Programme in the High School started with a school role of 200 pupils, within 3 weeks it had increased to over 400. Within three years the pass marks went from 12% to 96%, it is now one of the top achieving schools in the whole of Malawi going from group C to group A, the highest.

Our list of graduates include;

  • 113 Primary School Teachers
  • 54 Secondary School Teachers
  • 72 Nurses
  • 6 Midwives, 1 Midwife Manager
  • 43 Police Officers, Male and Female
  • 9 Bank Tellers
  • 6 Education Advisors
  • 61 Carpenters
  • 15 Army Officers,Male and Female
  • 17 Nursery School Teachers
  • 38 Engineers/Mechanics
  • 15 Tailors
  • 7 Knitters
  • 18 Drivers
  • 8 Accountants
  • 10 Laboratory Technicians

Some ex-pupils are working in South Africa. The list is endless. This is an extraordinary success story for a ‘City School’ never mind a ‘Bush School’, In the middle of nowhere. Before we started the Lunches no pupil had ever passed a GCSE.

This is a project where we are genuinely transforming lives and a community in the heart of Africa.

Because of our partnership with the people of Milonde the community has grown and developed with new small businesses and shops, a Market twice a week and the Government has finally linked six of the villages to the National Electric Grid. Water is still from hand pumps.

Due to the ravages of Climate Change, Malalwi, one of the poorest countries in the World, suffers every year from Droughts, Floods, Storms etc. Since the beginning of this year the community have suffered from three Hurricanes, the final one, Hurricane Freddy lasted three weeks. It was the worst in living memory. It destroyed two of the ten villages in the community sweeping away people, houses and crops. 65 People were killed in one village alone. The text messages I was getting from the community were heartbreaking. It was as bleak as anyone had ever seen.

After a 34 hour door to door Journey I arrived to find a devastated community in desperate need of help. They had already plowed fields by hand and planted potato seeds and Maize. It will take a month for the potatoes to be ready and three months for Maize.

Due to the appalling condition of the roads, 30mins to drive 4 Miles to the nearest market town,it took me 5 days to put together an Aid package of Maize, Blankets, Soya, Soap, Water Buckets, plates and mugs. Plus plastic sheets and timber for roofing. Hundreds of people turned up to meet me and the team and collect the Aid. These homeless people are now sheltering in our High School and in the Churches. They were left with nothing after the storm hit.

I had a meeting with all ten Chiefs and a separate meeting with the Senior Chief. All of them expressed much gratitude for the work we have been doing in the community and especially the recent help to protect from Covid and Cholera which resulted in our villages having no fatalities from either. In neighbouring communities it was not the same story sadly.

I met with all our twenty Nursery Teachers. All of them really hardworking with class sizes ranging from 75 to 125. The Children are given a bowl of porridge and a pre school education which has resulted in social and learning improvements when the Children move on to Primary School.

It was a successful trip but difficult and frustrating at times. Our Project Leaders, Olive, Leonard and Chief Mercy are doing a wonderful job as are all the members of the Spirit Aid team.

I plan to return in the spring of 2024.

David Hayman


Help us to continue our work in Malawi by making a donation towards our target. Any donations, no matter how small, will enable us to continue our work on the ground in Milonde.