Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Holidays from the I Live Here Team!

Hi everyone!

As the holidays are upon us, we realize that this is an important time to thank you deeply for your support. Thank you for buying the book, for joining our facebook pages and to those that donated, thank you for making our projects possible.

We launched our first project in Malawi on September 11, 2009. A date very important to me because of how it changed the way in which I see the world. September 11, 2009 marked the start of a long, but important process of transforming Kachere Juvenile Prison into a miniature eco-system. Our program is founded on the principal of permaculture – systems of agriculture designed to be self-sustainable. In practice, this means, building a community teaching garden using local seeds and compost. This garden is is intended to provide additional nutrition for the children of Kachere and intended to give them farming skills upon release. Permaculture makes you realize that you don’t need to reply on big seed companies to have a farm that flourishes. Most importantly, you don’t need to spend a lot to do a lot. We have a wonderful team of permaculturalists who are passing on the extremely valuable skills to the children and the officers of Kachere. When you are in presence of the permaculture teachers, it makes you realize that there are so many easy ways in which you can grow your own garden.

I am terribly excited about the humanure toilets that we are using. They are simple wooden boxes. After being used, the waste is covered with dirt, which kills the pathogens. This waste will then be composted and eventually used as a fertilizer. Additionally, we have installed clean drinking water stations in each cell, in addition to hand washing stations. I am told that the kids love them and find them easy to use. It’s a small but important milestone for us.

We work with a local group called PASI, whose job is to examine the case of each child in the prison and make sure that their legal and human rights are upheld. Additionally, twice a week, PASI will teach legal rights education.

Finally, the most difficult decision that we faced is where to put our school. After much deliberation, we have decided that we will build a very basic school on the grounds of the prison. This appears to be the best way to create an environment of stable learning.

The school will follow the Malawian Government curriculum and teach standards from 1-8. Our goal for this classroom is to emulate the school most of the children wanted to have when growing up. Warm, inviting, nurturing and creative. We want these kids to have dreams and see them through. Our goal is for as many of these kids as possible to attend University.

I am leaving for Malawi on Dec 13th to oversee the start of the building of the school. I am going to take very basic school supplies with me.

I hope so much you will consider donating to help us buy these school supplies and books. There has never been a juvenile prison with a school such as ours and we hope you will join us in the creation of this groundbreaking project.

We will be sending you a list of what is needed for the school and keep you updated on the progress of our work.

I look forward to sending you pictures and stories of what is to come. I know its not going to be easy and we will see many bumps along the way. That said, looking back at where we were and were we stand now, these bumps have made us stronger, better and more determined.

Please send us comments, questions and your thoughts..your support means so much!

Have a beautiful holiday.


Mia and Erica & Judy