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What better way to start 2016 than to say a big thank you on behalf of Nansato Nursery Trust for your ongoing support.

We were lucky enough to visit Mulanje in Malawi at the end of last year, with three trustees, Stuart, James and Pam, making the trip to see the 300 children from the 2015/16 classes and thought you’d like to hear about it.

We found the schools really well and all of the teachers at the four schools remain very committed to their jobs. The passion they have about improving education for children in the local area is such a joy to watch, with their imaginative lessons and enthusiastic games.

Unfortunately a difficult combination of a turbulent economy, January flooding and a long dry-season has resulted in many families having fewer crops and there is lots of hunger in the local area.

This makes the fortified porridge the children receive each morning at the nurseries even more important during these times and the feeding continues to work really well, with the help of Mary’s Meals who deliver the porridge for us.

15e1a923-e793-4cd8-827d-16137dc6aabcDuring our 2014 staff feedback sessions, some of the teachers expressed a desire to learn a little First Aid so they could help the children with any small injuries or ailments.

Thanks to the continued support from all of our regular givers and fundraisers, we were able to take out some First Aid kits and make strides at setting up a partnership with one of the local hospitals to provide some training for the teachers. We are so thankful we are able to offer support for projects like these when they arise.

Another decision the Trust made on the 2014 trip was to repaint the nursery buildings, and we were delighted to see most of the work completed during our trip and hear about the ongoing plans to finish the project.

Local tradesmen were hired for this, and the voluntary members from the nursery committees – who help look after the upkeep of the buildings – also played a part in the process. We continue to be in awe of the support this small charity has from all corners of the world.

We have each written a short highlight from our trip this year. Thank you once again for all your support.

James’ highlight

This was my third visit to Malawi to meet with the Nansato Nursery Trust teachers and pupils. As with previous trips, there are so many highlights, but one moment in particular from this trip stands out. It lasted only a couple of minutes, but I loved its beautiful simplicity.

On our second last day, we purchased a few resources for the nurseries in the nearby town, Chitakale – paper, exercise books, chalk, mops, etc.

Our friend Samuel, who works at Likhubula House where we stayed, kindly offered to drive us back to Nansato Nursery to drop off the resources. As the sun began to set, we pulled up outside the nursery. A group of smiling children who we had met earlier in the week welcomed us and without hesitation grabbed bags and boxes and moved them into the building for us. Such kindness and willingness to help!

6dbe9cdf-e9d8-4994-ac3c-b25b2513129aMany of those children attended the Nansato Nursery when they were five years old, and are very proud of their association with the school. The nursery is more than just a building, it is a part of the community, and this was very evident that night.

Pam’s highlight

My highlight from the trip was at Pasani Nursery during a lesson about babies. The teachers were explaining to the pupils that ‘babies sleep, cry and laugh’. The pupils all knew the actions and you could see the anticipation in their faces when it got to the ‘babies laugh’ section. They all rolled back and giggled out loud. They did this many times and were so engaged.

Some of the more confident children were also asking questions to the teacher Rhoda during the lesson and seemed so relaxed within the classroom environment which was brilliant to see.

f510bdd3-e127-4607-a847-7732b85c20c2Stuart’s highlight

It’s always really cool to see the kids learning, and amazing to see how good the teaching is and how much the children enjoy their time at the nursery schools but that’s come to be familiar. I think the times I most enjoy is when you see the impact the charity is having on people’s lives away from the schools. So for me, my highlight was visiting Finetune Studio, a recording studio set up by one of our teachers, Gift, and his friend David, both keen musicians.

Gift has a gift. He’s incredibly musical, almost frustratingly so. He picks up any instrument and within a few minutes is able to get a tune out of it, and within days is a master. The trust were able to take out a keyboard for him last year at his request as he was interested in learning. He paid for the keyboard with a loan from his salary and set about mastering it and we arrived this year to find him six tracks in to his first solo album.

With money he and his friend have saved, they’ve been able to source more equipment and rent a small space to set up their studio. If power is on in the village, Gift finishes up at the nursery and heads straight to the studio where they work with local artists to record their songs and offer a free service to local churches and organisations.

Music is his passion, which shone through when he was showing us around, so much so that the local women’s choir got turfed out when we arrived so that he could give us a demo. It was just brilliant to see and they’ve got many plans for future developments so I look forward to seeing it grow over the years  If you’re in the Mulanje area and want to lay down a track then Gift is your man.