Case Studies Members Stories

Kind-hearted letting agents fly to Malawi to volunteer in schools

Victoria Barker
Written by Victoria Barker

Two letting agents have traveled more than 7000 miles to Malawi to help volunteer in several schools.

Chris Holmes, a manager at Bricknells Properties in Rotherham, and Patrick Sullivan, Managing Director of Whitebrick Property Management in Coventry arrived in Malawi on Sunday 13th October.

Letting agents Patrick Sullivan (left) and Chris Holmes (right)

The pair will spend the next two weeks volunteering in more than 25 schools, delivering specialist teaching packs.

RLA member Chris, who is currently in Malawi, said:

“This is the second time that myself and Patrick have traveled to Malawi to support the Bwengu project . This time around we will be spending the trip looking for new projects, dealing directly with teachers and village elders”.

“A humbling experience”

“We have only been in Malawi for a few days, and already it has been a humbling experience”, says Chris, continuing:

“The schools we have visited so far have been quite primitive. They have mud brick walls and earth floors, and the children carry stones with them so they can sit on them when they are in class. AIDS has meant that there are a number of the school children are orphans – it is a humbling experience.”

A school in Lilongwe, Malawi’s capital

The letting agents will be spending the trip auditing all of the schools they visit to find out about their needs and wants. They will also be distributing teaching packs to the schools which contain the Malawian curriculum.

As well as looking at the stability and infrastructure of the schools. Chris will also be distributing solar-powered LED projector systems.

With an average class size of around 150 children, it is hoped the projectors will make it easier for children to learn, because teachers will be able to project lessons on to a wall, for all to see.

Chris and Patrick have already visited schools in Lilongwe, and they are currently in Mzuzu, a city in Northern Malawi, visiting the schools there. The pair then plan to travel further North, to visit schools close to the Zambian border. They plan to pay for all of their own travel costs during the trip.

Donations and offers of interest can be made through the charity, Bwengu Projects Malawi.

Update from Chris Holmes: Day six

“So far, we have been to three schools around the Rumphi area of Bwengu district Northern Malawi. The aim has been was to take teaching kits and check usage of those already installed. Essentially these are an android tablet is loaded with lessons of the Malawi curriculum. This projects the lessons on to a whitevwall through a solar powered projector. Pass rates have increased and the teachers like it rather than writing word for word on a blackboard.”.

A picture taken by Chris of one of the schools he has visited in Malawi

Update from Chris-Day twelve

“In the past few days we have visited many more schools-some have more than 1500+ students who have all been glad to see us. At one school, we sat in at assembly and listened to speeches, songs and finally the national anthem. The kids are football mad so we presented them football shirts and shorts collected by the girls at Bricknells rentals and a Manchester United kit from Anne Marie at Spencer Harvey estate agents in Cheshire. So you can see one of the students proudly wearing a Rotherham United shirt.  Little piece of Rotherham at the confluence of Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania! Thanks to all. Weather really hot – air con is non existent. Mosquitos in abundance not to mention the spiders- baboons on the way north!”

Read more in our ‘Good Landlord’ series

As part of our Good Landlords series, we are taking a look at the brilliant work landlords and letting agents are doing when it comes to their tenants and local communities. Read more from our Good Landlord series here:

  • Read Terry’s story. Landlord Terry grew up in care, and as well as arranging special days out for children in care today, he works hard to improve the opportunities care leavers have.
  • Read Sarah’s story. Landlord Sarah volunteers in school across the UK, teaching children all about her job as a property developer and her former job as a letting agent and accountant.

About the author

Victoria Barker

Victoria Barker

Victoria is the Communications Officer for the RLA.

She is responsible for producing articles for our Campaigns and News Centre, the weekly E-News newsletter and media review, and creating social media content. She also contributes to our members magazine, Residential Property Investor.

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