Newsletter May 2024

The rains might finally be coming to an end, and we are pretty grateful.  While they provide a great time for planting and the gardens are alive and green, this year the lake has also risen to a 40 year high. So enough is enough 🙂 We have managed to avoid much major damage, we raised the bar deck a metre in January in preparation, and when the lake is calm it’s still an amazing place for a sundowner.  For those of you that know the old bar though, or The Cottage as it has become recently, it has been the only major casualty, and is currently closed, we will have to see how to salvage it once the lake retreats, maybe it will return on stilts……

We were joined for two months by Carlo and Erie who provided beautiful energy and left us with some beautiful murals around the space.  After they found us last year after completing a mammoth walk from South Africa north, we know this won’t be the last time they visit…….   Like they commented, Butterfly will be their lily pad between their homes in South Africa and KenyaWe’ve also had new additions to the staff with more people joining the team  Thom and Yamikani are now more busy with their EARTH Workshops and so we have new gardener, Frank Banda who has already been a fresh of breath air around the site, bringing new ideas and getting his hands dirty.  


Support open days
We are pleased to welcome two new team members to MSPC  with Frank Fulama and Prince Shela joining to help us with the programme roll out and working to improve the delivery, learning and feedback we receive.  Frank has been involved since 2005 and his previous school, Limphasa, was always a model of permaculture.  Now he is based closer to Nkhata Bay, we are hoping to develop his school Chindozwa,  as a closer demonstration opportunity as well as  a chance for volunteers to get their hands dirty.

We also had a very dedicated volunteer, Ona who researched and developed different alternative cooking techniques, important in a country that relies heavily on firewood and charcoal which aren’t sustainable.  She built different solar dryers, a Solar cooker and developed an amazing Wonderbag.  She researched different cooking techniques, did a variety of workshops to demonstrate the ideas and left all the information for future use in the information room, including a great infographic and a video demonstrating to people how to make and use the Wonderbag, interested….. Watch here…….   All these demonstrations will form part of our Open Day Support packs and we are looking forward to holding vibrant Open Days this term.

We aim to focus this year on our stronger schools, and supporting them as much as we can. We have always had a criteria for involvement and we are really dedicated to supporting interested schools and teachers.  As a way to take this support further we are looking to make some key strategic partners this year.   That could be  like-minded organisations in Malawi that wish to be part of a sharing collaborative network, but also individuals or organisations from abroad who may be able to bring different skills or opportunities to the region.  We have already made an exciting link with Humusol  and Moving Windmills and look forward

Information & Media centre

The Centre is taking big steps to promote information sharing and networking. Thanks to Computers for Enhanced Education and Turing Trust, we’ve received a generous donation of computers. This couldn’t have come at a better time, as we’re committed to ensuring everyone here has the skills needed in today’s digital world. But that’s not all! We now have Starlink, giving us a stable internet connection. This is a game changer, making it quick and easy for us to access online resources. The Wifi is open to community members doing research and other important things, as well as to guests.

After completing a three-month SEO blog writing workshop, we’re proud to say we’ve started writing and uploading blogs to our website every month. This is to increase our online presence and share valuable information with you all. Networking with like-minded individuals and organisations is a big focus for us. We’ve begun stocking Malawian-made products at our centre to promote local businesses. We’re not looking to make a profit, just to boost sales of locally made products. We’re pleased with these developments and committed to keep serving the community.
Butterfly Space
Support the general upkeep and progression of all our Butterfly community development projects.
Disability Centres
Help purchase materials for vocational training sessions at Pundu & Mpamba disability centres.
Offset your carbon by purchasing a tree pack a school.
Youth Club
Assist with finishing touches for the building renovation.

E.A.R.T.H Workshops

Our new project, the EARTH Workshops, developed last year through Pundu disability centre’s gardening club, where we introduced sustainable and organic agriculture workshops, with the aim to share some of the useful resources and knowledge offered at @butterflyinfomediaroom.

We noticed growing interest around regenerative agriculture and organic fertiliser, following the increasing costs of chemical fertilisers in the country (and worldwide). We were approached by surrounding villages, asking us to show them how to make organic based fertiliser, with concerns that they won’t be able to grow food in the coming months. 

Using Josie’s approaches from MSPC, and information from the WFP Sustainable Nutrition Manual, we put together a series of simple but useful workshops, to provide villages with realistic approaches to increase food and water security, improve nutrition, and regenerate degraded farmland. We also extended our tree nursery, turning every flat square metre into a home for new baby trees! The aim is to plant at least 20,000 this year, and provide free trees to the villages whom we work with (through MSPC and EARTH), to encourage more agroforestry approaches.

We have also partnered with Ripple Africa to build fuel-reducing cook stoves, and we will showcase the ‘Wonderbag, which  halves the cooking time for stews and rice’ during the workshops. Both of these cooking options are much safer than traditional 3 stone fires, which use more than double the firewood.

Thom and Maxwell, the EARTH Workshop team, have attended multiple training visits throughout the year, all over Malawi! They have gained in depth knowledge on soil health and agroecology, and they are extremely passionate about what they do!

We are now delivering these workshops to 5 villages over the next 3 months, and the turnout has been fantastic. We have had between 20 and 50 people attending workshops, even in the rain! 

To follow our workshops and see regular updates, follow the EARTH Workshops Malawi page on Facebook and Instagram!

If you want to support us, and get more information, please visit our Chuffed page 

Previous Volunteers

 We hosted several amazing volunteers recently.Tom from England conducted an SEO blog writing workshop to help us improve our website’s visibility. Nicole from England played with the kids at Stepping Stones Nursery and did paintings for the lodge and the school. Anais provided customer relations training at the vocational center, Pundu Disability Centre, and with the reception team. Katie from England volunteered at Stepping Stones Primary, played with the kids, visited our nurseries in different communities, and donated various items to the school. Mai and Emily from Denmark taught phonetics and English writing to Standard One learners at Stepping Stones.

We thank all our volunteers for their time and support in making our projects successful!

Stepping Stones

Stepping Stones School celebrated the graduation of students who did a training in cosmetology and tailoring, for a four-month period. This culminated in a grand ceremony where students received Teveta certificates, a testament to the quality training they received. Thanks to our valued partnership with Teveta, our students are equipped with industry-recognized certifications, ensuring their skills are of the highest standard.

The festivities also included the opening of a new library and media room, further enriching the educational experience for our students and the wider community. In response to the growing demand for education, Stepping Stones made significant strides in infrastructure development. The addition of new classrooms and toilet facilities reflects our commitment to providing a conducive learning environment. With the generous support of partners like Datum Foundation and Block Builders, we are expanding our facilities to accommodate more students and enhance their educational experience.

At Stepping Stones, we prioritise continuous improvement in education through teacher training programs. Our recent focus on Differentiation, Behaviour Management, and understanding neurodiversity equips our teachers with valuable tools for effective teaching and student interactions. By investing in our teachers, we ensure a high-quality learning experience for all students at Stepping Stones. Looking ahead, Stepping Stones is dedicated to building a brighter future for our students and the community. Plans are underway for constructing a hostel to accommodate students from remote villages and those preparing for exams. Additionally, we are expanding our vocational training programs and facilities to meet the growing needs of our student body. We are committed to providing quality education and opportunities for all.

Pundu disability centre

We have made more amazing progress at Pundu Disability Centre this year, since last year’s chuffed fundraiser, meaning another year of positive stories, and proud, smiling members!

We held an annual meeting last month, and we were so pleased with our review… Using last year’s fundraised money from the Chuffed campaign, we managed to make such an impact. Here are some of the main ways we spent the money…

We put two deaf children into specialist schools, installed a solar system and started opening the centre for all local students for evening study groups, and we have employed John, one of the disabled members, to be the caretaker for the centre. For the nursery school: we have sent the teachers for ECD training at Stepping Stones Nursery, for 1 week each, found sponsorship for a feeding program to feed the nursery school, along with the neighbouring nursery school, with fortified nutritious porridge, 5 days a week, and donated toys and books. We have also provided disability aid equipment to 3 members: a modified wheelchair for a child, a wheelchair for a disabled lady, and a foot for a child, enabling these children to get to school. We also have continued support for our tailoring groups, with fortnightly skills workshops, and business and customer relations workshops. We have also been using the fundraised money to provide practical support for the group, including emergency transport and access to medication when it has not been available in local clinics. 

The group, with the community, have continued to push the centre to become a real hub for the community. They have registered it to be the official community nursery school for the area, and we have been running weekly gardening clubs for all of the community, where the members, and community have learnt about permaculture, and regenerative agriculture. Through these clubs, we developed the EARTH Workshops, which is a community outreach program to teach villages essential skills to increase food security and plant trees!

Sponsorship: Thanks to sponsors, we have been able to continue Patricia’s sign language course, and she is now studying level 2 in sign language. She wishes to work with deaf tailors, and run community outreach sign language classes for families of deaf people. We are feeding 80 children in nutrient rich fortified porridge, and we are sending 3 deaf children to school! Sponsorship really does have a direct impact in the communities, so please let us know if you would like to set up sponsorship. 

We will be running another Chuffed campaign to continue the support we offer Pundu. Your donations are always appreciated and make such an impact in this community. Thank you for your ongoing support! 🙂
“Hidden in our hearts is a longing to live deeply and with purpose and joy, to know and to be known, to be concerned with another; and to make a difference. In this dance of giving and receiving, we create our community, our World and ourselves”

Wish list

Wondering what to bring with you or what you can send to help out? We are constantly working on project & lodge improvements and are looking for a variety of items that could assist in our community development. Check out our hefty Wish List for project specific equipment and materials.

If you can’t source specific things but have space in your luggage, we could always use baby clothes, reading glasses, batteries, towels, bedding, first aid kits and solar charging headlamps/portable batteries. 

All funds raised will be put directly towards community development efforts. Follow the social media links below to stay up to date. We thank you for your contributions and extend our gratitude for your generousity and ongoing support!
Thank you to all who continue support Butterfly Space in various ways.
We wouldn’t be where we are today without your support! 😀
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