The William Stewart Foundation

Our Projects

Resource Centre Project

Following a meeting with village Chiefs from Traditional Authority Mwenewenya in August 2017, Chief Mwenemuyombe donated land to the Foundation to build The Margaret and Jean Stewart Resource Centre named after William’s wife and daughter respectively.

Build began at the end of April 2018 with the digging of the latrines. In early May, the ground was cleared and foundations were dug. Brickmaking began in late May – more than 52,000 bricks were made which were fired in two huge kilns. The bricks and sand were then ferried to the site and the first brick was laid on 1st August.

The latrine blocks – a two-compartment for females and a two-compartment for males have been finished. The kitchen and stores have also been built and finished.

The Whittard Kitchen

It is customary in Malawi to name buildings. The reason we have called our kitchen as we have is because of a ‘mystery in chocolate’ earlier in the year.

A parcel from the UK was delivered to the Foundation but another was addressed to us. When it was opened it was found to contain several tins of chocolate drink from Whittard of Chelsea in the UK. After investigations, it was discovered that the parcel was intended for a gentleman in Seoul, South Korea. However, when it was explained to Whittard where the chocolate had ended up, they so kindly let the Foundation keep it for the Easter celebrations and Lego Party. The children loved their first taste of hot chocolate drink.

Not only that but the company sent out a further consignment of 15 tins of assorted flavours. The build has been so intensive since then that there has not been an opportunity for another party but those tins will be very much in evidence at the next celebration. Hence, the Whittard Kitchen.

Sophie’s Skills Shed

We were going to build a new shed entirely but then our building team realised that the structure of the temporary one was so good that they could use it to make the permanent building.

It is a big shed and the team had to stop several times because of the rains but they succeeded in time for the Christmas Party. Window and door apertures will be covered, and the carpenter will finish the building in the New Year.

The children can use it now, however, for classes in such things as carpentry, metalwork, painting and tailoring, and it will double up as the orphans’ dining area until the main Resource Centre building is built.

It’s called Sophie’s Skills Shed in honour of the little girl Sophie Armstrong from Strathblane in Scotland who wanted to fundraise for a charity – and she picked our Foundation. She and her mother Tamara held a Sparkling Afternoon Tea and the event raised a lot of money which helped us build the shed.

Future Builds

The main building will house the meeting/dining room, Library/IT facilities, office and a small guest quarter.

It was intended that this building should be the fourth structure. However, the Chiefs have been so impressed with the work which has already been achieved that they have gifted more land to the Foundation, nearer to the Chitipa-Nthalire road and nearer to where it is anticipated that electrification will take place shortly.

And so it is planned that a shop and maize mill will be erected at the new site, as the next stage of the build.

The aim of the Foundation is to be as self-reliant as possible. One part of the shop will have a barber’s and a soft drinks store; the other part will be used to sell surplus farm produce and clothes and hardware items made by the orphans in their classes.

Currently villagers have to travel a distance for their maize to be ground, hence the installation of a maize mill, which will also provide revenue for the Foundation.

Update - November 2019

Sophie’s Skills Shed

The Skills Shed is so well used and so loved that the children wanted to decorate it even more colourfully. So Levison and helpers Agrey and Cyrus drew some lovely images on the outside while Bridget added some names of those who are no longer with us to the inside walls.

The Foundation’s New Foundations

Foundations for a new building have been laid on the new piece of ground gifted by the Chiefs. Levison bought brickmaking pans; bricks have been made, a kiln built, and the bricks fired. We are still awaiting news, favourable or otherwise, of a funding application made last year and so are not committing as yet to what the building will be. It has been made safe from the impending Malawian rains and so we can wait until the rainy season is over before deciding on its use.

Earlier updates can be seen in our archives.