"During January 2014 I traveled to Malawi to help young children of the Nkhata Bay district. As a volunteer for the Banda Bola Sports Foundation I gave technical sessions, distributed supplies, and enhanced the education of the underprivileged. Those two weeks in January, for which I had mentally prepared for charity work, turned out to be more educational and more fun than I could have ever expected. In addition to the joy of working with tremendously grateful kids, I was able to explore an engaging culture and absorb the multitude of different experiences the beautiful country of Malawi had to offer. Most importantly, what I learned from my time in “The Warm Heart of Africa” will stay with me for life.
Banda Bola is a unique foundation that has a real impact on the lives of children in the Malawi. By establishing a league where children must go to school in order to be involved Kalekeni Banda is providing a much needed incentive for young people to attend and learn. Education is not mandated in Malawi so there are high levels of children who never receive basic schooling. Furthermore, the program provides after school lessons in addition soccer training so the kids are able to develop on the field and in the classroom. As a reward, they gain invaluable knowledge and receive much needed materials for sports and school such as notebooks, pens, soccer balls, and athletic clothing collected from the United States.
What makes the Chituka Village Project so special, as a volunteer, is the tangible and visible effect of the volunteer’s efforts. You can see the kids smile with joy as they sport their new jersey and watch them energetically perform a new drill which you taught them. At Chituka field I taught goalkeeping technique, as it is my position, and I saw, first hand, players enjoying a position which was generally neglected. Many young goalkeepers were inspired that day. In particular, one young person came up to me and asked for personal training the rest of the time I was there because he wanted to play in the Malawi Super League one day. I worked with him several times on specialized techniques and he was visibly improving from session to session. Over that time we developed a friendship and we still keep in weekly contact over the phone so I can stay up to date on how he is doing personally and with his attempts at going pro. It is experiences like these which personally touch you and make volunteering for the Chituka Village Project much more than typical NGO work.
To call traveling to Malawi and instructing kids “volunteer work” does not do the experience justice. The fun I had playing soccer, swimming in the gorgeous Lake Malawi, hiking Mt. Mulanje, meeting interesting people, eating delicious local food, traveling through cities like Blantyre and Mzuzu, and seeing a vastly different country only added to the joy of helping the children. What I had originally labeled as a volunteer trip was almost more of a vacation, a volunteer vacation, a VoVacation! In fact, I already have plans to return to continue educating and learning. To anyone looking for a valuable experience unlike any other I would highly recommend Banda Bola Sports Foundation."
- Madison W.
"I would like to utter my evidence on how the program of Banda Bola Sports Foundation after school (program) has worked.
The decision made will infuse new ideas that should usher in much needed change that our learners as well as guardians are looking for. This program has brought a tremendous change on children/learners at Malenga Mzoma school, mainly those who attended after school program, because learners were unable to say alphabet and now they are able to... It has also changed the behavior of learners, mainly boys, consuming beer (sachets) before or after school. Now with this program learners know classroom conduct which is respect, no touching one another in a classroom, no pushing, no stealing, no fighting and no lies. They know three Ls which are Look, Listen and Learn.
This program has brought a dramatic change to our learners of Malenga Mzoma School and the surrounding areas and schools as well.
I therefore accord to what is happening at our school for this organization which is a non-profit and thereby assisting the community as a whole through helping school in sports and education and also needy children there eradicating poverty.
I appreciate coach Kalekeni Banda as president of Banda Bola Sports Foundation for the job well done. Although he has all the power to enable him to gain riches, but Banda Bola did not exploit this for self-aggrandisement. He lives a simple and humble life, probably beyond our imagination. Yes, it is still beyond our imagination because the community has seen how other organizations (owners) exploiting organizations to enrich themselves.
It's my appeal to you all well wishes in the USA and beyond to keep assisting/supporting Banda Bola Sports Foundation as well as the people of Chituka and Malawi as a whole. God bless you all abundantly. Bravo, bravo Coach Banda. God shower his blessings out onto you and add more days in your life..."
- Lhoti M.
"My name is Blessings, supervisor for after school mentorship programme. My duty this afternoon is to outline the activities of the afternoon programme.
In short Banda Bola after school mentorship programme is a very important initiative worth supporting. At Banda Bola after school mentorship programme children always come first. We will strive to ensure that those children we register are retained in school and graduate with at least a primary school learning certificate.
Our prayer to God is that is that he continues showering his mercies on our beloved brother Kalekeni and his partners in the USA and elsewhere so that this programme grows from strength to strength.
We are proud to be associated with this programme.
Long live Banda Bola Sports Foundation."
- Blessings B.