A young, laughing boy throws a mock punch, as if to say I may be smaller than you, but I’m tough. Children have to be tough to survive in Malawi, one of the poorest nations in Africa. Every year a group of teachers and students from the Cardinal Wiseman School in England visit Health Clinics and Schools in Malawi. Windowless schools house more than 2,500 students with just 20 teachers to accomodate them. Protein is particularly scarce, and many children are forced to survive on dried flies and mice. The purpose of these visits is to provide the resources and skills for the community to achieve agricultural self-sustainability. This is achieved by bringing seeds, maize and soya which can survive the harsh Malawian climate. The Cardinal Wiseman Trust also brings shoes for barefoot children who often walk miles to and from school. Despite all of these privations, the children are full of spirit and exude a quiet dignity amidst all their hardships.
In June of 2012 I was given the opportunity to travel to Malawi with a group of teachers and students from the Cardinal Wiseman School in England. I willingly accepted the opportunity and embarked on a 10 day trip throughout central Malawi. Prior to leaving for Malawi, I had no idea what to expect. I'd seen images and documentaries of struggling third world countries but hadn't felt a true connection until now. For 10 days, I photographed aspects of everyday life for young students as well as the communities my group was helping. Five years ago these schools didn't have the means to feed their students. Today, children can come to school knowing that they will not only have an education, but that they will receive the neccesary nourishment to be the best that they can be. This trip had a tremendous affect on the way I live my life today. The warmth, the happiness, and the empowerment of these children under such adversity gave me a perspective that I continue to hold dear to me.
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