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VT welcomes Malawi Fellows to Scotland

We are delighted to welcome five guests from our Moving On: Malawi programme to Scotland. As part of the programme's handover to local partners, our five visitors are spending two months with Venture Trust in Scotland thanks to the Commonwealth Fellowship Scheme.

Here, we introduce our five Fellows. Read on for an introduction from Greg, our Project Officer in Malawi, and for each Fellow's own hopes and aspirations for their time in Scotland.

Samuel Mbweza (State Prosecutor)

From Greg:Sam was our first Malawian contact back in 2010 when Joe Connelly (our Head of Programmes) met him at the Ministry of Justice. Joe and Sam visited Kachere Juvenile Prison together and although Sam’s job is as a prosecutor for the State, he had never set foot inside a prison and especially a juvenile one. What Sam saw shocked him and has given him a professional drive to use incarceration as a last resort and in his job “to ensure that justice is just even for those vulnerable young people who cannot afford it”.

From Samuel: As a State Prosecutor working in the Ministry of Justice under the Director of Public Prosecutions my job is to represent the government in courts. The Constitution of Malawi empowers the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecute all cases in Malawi that make us to handle every case that is brought to the directorate. In Scotland, I look forward to learn, learn, and learn. The experience I will gain I will first impart it to my colleagues in my office and also other organizations that deal with children in conflict with the law. I wish to see Mwai wosinthika becoming a hope for all the hopeless and helpless children in Malawi, a place where children would launch their dreams and see them come to pass and become responsible and productive citizens not only for Malawi but the entire world.

Fanny L Mwale (Police Officer)

From Greg:Fanny has been a great help to Venture Trust in her tireless commitment and passion for young people both in her work and in her own community in Area 24 of Lilongwe. As well as a very busy dayjob, as a “Agogo” (Grandmother) she has a very busy homelife after hours.

From Fanny:
My goal is to become the best child prosecutor, divert as many child cases as possible, and reduce numbers of children in conflict with the law in Malawi. In Scotland, I want to experience how children in conflict with the law are assisted, and how reform is conducted.

Yotamu Yotsie Chaonaine (Police Officer)

From Greg: I first saw Chaonaine (Chewa for “He has been seen”) or Chao as we call him now, on the road to the prison .The police patrol vehicle he was driving very fast was packed full of prisoners I waved at him to slow down. Later he explained that he had to drive fast so they would not escape. It was the start of a really good working relationship and he assisted us to move many young boys from imprisonment.

From Chao: It is my wish of becoming a responsible leader both at my workplace as well as in my society. I hope to achieve this through the knowledge gained from different spheres, as it is said “knowledge is power”. I hope to return to Malawi filled with knowledge ready to disseminate to my colleagues through sensitisation meetings and submission of reports. I want to be planning on where, when, how to start a “mwai wosinthika” (a chance for change”) programme, and I will be filled with joy to have travelled by aeroplane out of Malawi for the first time in my life and to have seen Scotland a place where most of my ancestors have never been courtesy of Venture Trust, Scottish Government and the Commonwealth Professional fellowship.

Chosadziwa Sakwiya a.k.a Chosa (Child Protection Officer and Social Worker)

From Greg: I first met Sakwiya (chewa meaning “he is not angry”) at the District social Welfare Office inputting data. I must say he did not look overly happy about it! However once he joined our “mwai wosinthika” (a chance for change) programme and became a facilitator it was clear he had a real passion and drive for working with young people “at risk“. He has worked voluntarily alongside Venture Trust for nearly two years as well as doing his own 24/7 job as managing the Social Transit Centre for children “in or on the streets” of Lilongwe.

From Chosa: My job here , is so delicate in the sense that l work with children and young men ensuring their emotional and physical wellbeing thus enabling them to trust me hence being able to protect them from any form of abuse that may hinder their developmental growth to become useful citizens of Malawi. During my stay [in Scotland] l will be looking forward most in the sharing of skills, culture and the experience in technology as compared to my home country friendship development, and that hospitality that will not make me regret why l left the “warm heart of Africa” (Malawi) and of course learning the Scottish sense of humour ;-)

Kenneth Thom (Prison Warder/HIV & AIDS Counsellor)

From Greg: Thom was the first warder at Kachere Prison to demonstrate a real desire to work with the young people there. Unlike many of his colleagues at the time he was not afraid to be open to change. Working with Venture Trust within Kachere has been a huge personal challenge for Thom, in terms of conflict amongst his previous colleagues. However, there is about to be a new management at Kachere Reformatory Centre with the a new Officer in Charge and her young and freshly trained staff from the training College - Thom will surely return with new inspiration to make a real change and his knowledge will fall on fertile ground!

From Kenneth: I come to work with Greg at Kachere in 2011. When Venture Trust come to work at Kachere my responsibilities, translation ability and openness to learn suited the criteria of Venture Trust. I helped Greg in translation during “one-to-one” interviews with young offenders. I now conduct these interviews finding out about their education, accommodation, health HIV and AIDS and relationship with their parents or guardians and also help them to make their plans and doing Venture trust session in prison emphasising behaviour change. My trip to Scotland will have a huge impact on my day to day work as I will acquire new knowledge and skills that will help me to effectively assist the Malawi Prison service, and I will interact with other fellows from other countries sharing experiences. I want to visit Polmont Young Offenders Institute in Glasgow which is the equivalent to Kachere in Malawi and maybe set up a relationship.

We look forward to keeping you updated about our Fellows' time and adventures in Scotland.

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