All-Woman ‘Sister’ Group Goes to Malawi to Build a School

Achemwali. That means “sister” in Chichewa, the language spoken in Malawi. That’s also the name of the all-woman group of 12 building a school in Malawi that will have an Adult Literacy Program.

The idea to raise money for the school started in 2010 when Catarina Schwab (buildOn’s Vice President, West Coast) and her sister Camilla Field (member of buildOn’s West Coast Board) were visiting family in England. Catarina was telling three of her cousins about her recent trip to build a school in Nicaragua – and the cousins decided to create a campaign to build a school together.

“Our cousin Caroline grew up living in Zambia, and she had been wanting to find an opportunity to get involved in meaningful work in Africa,” Camilla says. Because of the East Africa connection, the cousins chose Malawi as their destination, and invited their closest friends and family from San Francisco, Seattle, London, New York to join them on this life-changing journey. Twelve women will be going on the trip in March.

“Many of us are mothers, and many of us work,” she says. “We focused on bringing together the strong, amazing women in our lives to do this.” The women are excited about being a part of a sustainable change that will allow women and girls to succeed in Malawi, where where about 74 percent of the population lives below the income poverty line of $1.25.
[pullquote]We focused on bringing together the strong, amazing women in our lives to do this.[/pullquote]

For Camilla, the most valuable part about building a school in Malawi alongside the community will be the group’s engagement with the villagers. “I’m really grateful for my life… and I think it will be such a great experience to be there and see what you really need in life to be happy—and to provide the village with solidarity, support and human connection.”

Help build a school in Malawi just like Team Achemwali by donating to buildOn’s Breaking the Cycle campaign. Be the catalyst for change in people’s lives and their world. Change the world by educating children, parents and grandparents. Donate today! #itstartshere