Summer Volunteers Return Home


I am happy to (belatedly) announce the safe return of Ryan Mercer, Paul Christian and Gerard Corr from Malawi after a six week trip. The guys went out to support our Coach James Chilimampunga. The football enthusiasts conducted many football coaching sessions at our fields in Muzu (the future site of Lingadzi Academy) as well as other places across the city. They also provided much needed feedback to the UK committee about the progress of our other school and library projects. They also took lots of photos and film footage which can be found across the site. 


The guys had a great trip and they were extremely well received. Our Coach James Chilimampunga has since been in touch saying that the children have not stopped talking about the Northern Irish lads. Thanks for your support guys and we are thrilled that you had such a positive impact.


The following is a wonderful testimonial sent to us from Ryan Mercer: 

Lilongwe, summer ‘09

We touched down in Lilongwe airport on July 2nd, my birthday, I was 23. It was the beginning of an incredible 6 week journey, the biggest eye opener of my life which has left a lasting impression.

We visited past projects that previous volunteers had participated in, such as the library project at Falls Secondary School. All projects were running successfully and were self sufficient which was very important.

Progress for the City Sports Centre project was on track. The land already purchased was in amazing condition and already put to use with some great coaching thanks to our Malawian coach James Chilimampunga, who is based in Lilongwe. Big thanks must go out to our grounds man Henry for maintaining the excellent standard of the playing surface. Negotiations for the remainder of the land were thankfully nearing completion as we were leaving Malawi.

We also travelled throughout the capital coaching at schools, community centres and on just about any field we thought suitable for a training session. The enthusiasm of the children was overwhelming, despite often not having shoes and playing with rocks underfoot. It got dark at 5.30pm and we often left the pitch whilst the children played well into the night, they truly love sport in Malawi. 

We had the opportunity to take in a local game. The crowd in attendance were so animated and passionate it was bordered on the comical. The winning team were carried into the changing room to rapturous applause, we rediscovered the magic of football.

Malawi is often called ‘The Warm heat of Africa’, and by the end of our trip we really came to appreciate this cliché. The people were some of the friendliest I have ever met, be it on public transport or making our way through a remote village, everyone is lending a helping hand, giving assistant and advice. I met some friends for life in those six weeks and I will definitely be returning to Malawi in the near future

Sadly days turned into weeks, and before we knew it we were returning to the UK, time flies in Malawi. The summer had been one to remember, I hope you can take some time to look at the photographs and videos to get a feel for the work the charity is doing in Malawi, keep up the great work guys.

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