Kapita Preschool & Community Center

By Empower Projects

Campaign Completed on

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Kapita in Malawi

Kapita has a population of over 5,000 residents and is a rural region in the Southern African nation of Malawi. These people display amazing resilience in light of the acute challenges posed by financial poverty.

We at Empower Projects have worked in partnership with all 38 villages in the Kapita region of Malawi for nearly 5 years. This has involved a range of inspiring community-driven efforts across agriculture,solar lighting,community banking and even the construction of an Earthship Community Center. Community members are coming together to pool their talents and resources to address local development challenges!

But there are two big challenges...

1) The Kapita region does not have any form of early childhood education. Government funding for preschool education in Malawi is very limited.

This means that young children in the region go without a vital early foundation in learning and development. This naturally has an impact on the level of "learning readiness" of a number of children who attend primary school and often do not go on to secondary school.

Related to this, individual households in the region, often despite their best efforts, lack the resources and education to provide a nutrient rich diet to their children in these crucial years. A number of young children suffer from acute malnutrition which in turn stunts their growth. It is estimated that up to 47% of Malawian children suffer from stunted growth. This can have life long cognitive and physical impacts

While the people of Kapita have done amazing things to address development challenges in their region, the education of their children is crucial to truly engage in sustainable development. It is also one of the most common aspirations of parents across the region - to see their children educated.

2) We worked together and built 5 out of the 8 rooms that comprise the Kapita Community Center. Community members have the know-how and the commitment but need financial support to purchase materials to complete the remaining 3 rooms.

These rooms will be used for important community functions such as a clinic, a seed bank, a library, meetings rooms and wait for it ...a preschool! Check out the video tour below.

Newsletter - August 2015 from Empower Projects on Vimeo.

The people of Kapita have spoken and they are coming together because they think this situation is UNACCEPTABLE and want to take decisive action!

Here's what we're doing about it!

The people of Kapita have banded together and expressed their intent to establish the region's first preschool! Given that the community has already gained assistance to build their own community centre, all they need are the funds for materials to complete the entire build and the training of staff to establish the preschool.

A few months ago, our team in Malawi connected with the Department of Early Childhood Education in Malawi to help the people of Kapita develop an action plan that was in line with best practice.

  • Community members have put the finishing touches on the rooms to prepare them for the preschool and will use funds from this campaign to work towards completing the remaining 3 rooms.
  • Three teachers have been selected by the community to be trained as the region's first preschool teachers! They will be trained through an official government program and receive support from Empower's project staff.
  • Over 50 children have been registered in the first region's enrollment for its preschool. Parents will pay a small fee of approx AUD 3 per month to make the program financially sustainable.
  • A Government requirement is that there is a meal program with a focus on nutrition as it is integral to an effective preschool. This will be made sustainable through voluntary contributions by mothers from the region, the school permaculture garden and funds from fees.

Whats the impact?

  • Over 50 kids (most featured above) will get a preschool education in Kapita! They will get a head start in life and likely have a stronger chance of excelling in Primary School! These little pioneers will open the doors for more children and help normalise preschool education in the area.
  • A nutritious meal program will also mean that all kids attending preschool will receive a nutrition they need to promote healthy development and avoid stunted growth.
  • Early childhood interventions like this don't just impact children, they have profound impacts for adults too! Particularly mothers. Research shows that preschools help mothers free up time to focus on other productive tasks or critical leisure time to connect with other women. This may also apply to older siblings tasked with looking after their younger brothers or sisters. Now they can focus on school too!
  • A Preschool also opens up a new employment pathway for young men and women in Kapita as the preschool grows. Government accredited training and a rewarding role in the development of young learners is a powerful vocation for residents of Kapita to aspire to.
  • 3 additional rooms in the community center will mean that important community initiatives like the establishment of a library, seed bank and clinic can go ahead. The completion of the Earthship Community Center is expected to have a deep positive impact on the morale of people in the region

You can join us!

We need to raise AUD $5000 to make this project a reality.

Our awesome partners Opportunity To Do have pledged to match every $ donated up to $2500. So in effect we only need to to raise $2,500 to reach our goal.

To put it another way, each $50 contribution helps us put one child in preschool!

Here's what we will be using the funds for:

Pre School Budget: $2,500

1. Training, transportation and accommodation - costs for 3 teachers to take part in an extensive 2 week training program in the capital city of Lilongwe.

2. 12 months salary for 3 teachers - Coverage for a year so that the preschool has the opportunity to save its school fees from parents for a year to develop a healthy buffer and be self-sustaining.

2. Initial stock for the meal program - flour, vegetables, utensils.

3. Stationary and toys - flip charts, pads, pens , books and some educational toys.

Community Center Budget: $2,500

1. Rebar

2. Cement

3. River sand

4. Transportation

5. Labor - a nominal payment for farmers and entrepreneurs who will be sacrificing work on their farms to put in the hard labor required to complete the build.

Total Budget AUD 5000

All donations above $2 are tax-deductible in Australia. Any additional funds will be allocated towards materials for the community center's completion.

UPDATE: Thanks to your amazing support we have received our first round of matched funding! AUD 1,500 , we are just $1000 short of our goal now!

This project is supported by:


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Team Members

Shanil Samarakoon

Belinda Cooper

Bright Msuku

Deb Binder

James Feng


Kane Callaghan

Shyamika Peeligama