Chanco students in infrastructure refurbishments

Chancellor College, a constituent of the University of Malawi, is one of the oldest high-learning institutions in the country.

Chanco Rejuvination Project founder Isabel Kumwembe

Chanco Rejuvination Project founder Isabel Kumwembe

The Chanco Project Rejuvination Team now led by Paul Ntulumba (standing) who is also the Students Union president

The Chanco Project Rejuvination Team now led by Paul Ntulumba (standing)

The Chanco Open Theatre under renovations.

The Chanco Open Theatre under renovations.

Over the years, the college, built in 1973 and popularly known as Chanco, has seen some of its structures deteriorate.

The situation prompted a group of learners to start a programme called ‘Chanco: Project Rejuvenation’, a student driven initiative aimed at rehabilitating dilapidated institutions of importance.

Founded in 2012 by Isabel Kumwembe, now an alumna, the grouping has so far rehabilitated two lecture roomsat the college and is currently refurbishing the Chanco open theatre.

“From the moment I stepped into my dormitory, on my first day at Chanco, I was moved by the state of infrastructure. Distraught by the laissez-faire attitude by many towards playing a part in development issues and the love for my country, I founded the project,” explains the 24-year-old Kumwembe.

She says being a student at Chanco, she witnessed first-hand problems that students face at the college, which the state of infrastructure has been one of the greatest issues of concern.

“The deterioration of infrastructure is an issue many of us complain about, but seldom do anything about. I felt it was long overdue for someone to step up to the task and do something about. I decided I wanted to be that person.

“I could not do it alone and knew that there was power in numbers. A group of students ready to rebuild their college, an advocate for the return of its lost glory was formed and our project established,” she tells how the project started.

According to Kumwembe, the initiative does not only target infrastructure at the college but other institutions as well, hence besides the projects at Chanco, they have also rehabilitated a learning block at Mponda Primary School in the same Zomba district.

But why should this be the responsibility of students when it is supposed to be government’s obligation or other stakeholders?

Kumwembe answers: “Our objective is simple: rehabilitate attitudes as we rehabilitate infrastructure. We have always emphasized on one thing; the unified power of the people and one’s inherent ability to affect change.

“We believe in upholding ones social responsibility and are built on the spirit of volunteerism. We believe volunteerism is a powerful means of engaging people in tackling development challenges.

“Our philosophy is we should never be enslaved by the power of dependency and that everybody plays a part in building the nation we hope for.We all need to be participants.”

The Chanco: Project Rejuvenation depends on grants, donations and fundraising to fund its projects, hence the grouping asks for well-wishers to come in and help them undertake their operations.

The current project, the refurbishment of the open theatre, has so far received support from Nico Life Insurance, who have donated K1.4million. The company has also supported the students in the past with K1million for another project.

“After noticing the progress that has been made at the open theatre, the administration has offered to give us a hand. We have already drafted a quotation and it will be submitted to the dean and the registrar and wait for the principal’s approval,” revealed the excited Kumwembe.

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24 thoughts on “Chanco students in infrastructure refurbishments”

  1. Yokwiya says:

    Can you post pictures of how Chanco looks nowadays. Many alumni will not believe it. During our time there were tarmac roads. Go there now. It is like a certain locality in T/A Ngongoliwa. The Sports Complex is no longer the same. Talk of the hostels, Mayo!!! I wonder if the current crop of students is able to boast about the college to their friends who are not there. Bravo Isabel and your friends. I urge the private sector to supports the efforts of this grouping. Lets help our children to have a good learning environment as it was before.

  2. that’s a good initiative these students are doing . this is the development initiative that every malawi should adopt to change Malawi to better level to develop various sectors across the country. this group of sound development initiative shud train communities on how to star up this across the country.

  3. Bernard Nyimba says:

    How can I help? I have some paint to donate. Whats the point of contact?

  4. TruFactor says:

    The renovations should not only be structural. We need behavioural, spiritual etc renewal (or should I call it renovation?) as well. Ana a pa Chanco kuipitsa mbiri ya UNIMA.

  5. Mwapheranjiru says:

    Nkhani yabwino, zoona, Youth Week ibwerere basi. Takunyadirani nonse.

  6. Mtondoli Jonazi says:

    This is really wonderful. I remember there was talk of a similar initiative to raise funds around 2008-2009 thereabouts (could be earlier or later). I think it was named ‘Paint-A-Room’ or something similar.

    The idea was for at least the alumni to contribute money towards painting the room they had stayed it at Chanco. A lot of people supported the idea but a lot others as well shot it down even before it really took off. Peoples’ concerns were mainly accountability on the funds, especially making sure that the funds are used for the intended purpose.

    Fellow alumni out there: don’t you think maybe it’s time we re-looked at the idea? I am sure it would not really be hard to find people who are accountable enough to handle the funds and the project and see it to fruition. This group has shown it already that it can be done.

    Just a thought.

  7. LIMBIKA says:

    This girl impresses.People who live on handouts play the victim mentality and always think things cannot be done by themselves. I admire her tenacity. GOVERNMENT should also know it is pointless building state of the art institutions without having maintenance plans on them .This is quite disheartening. We should also teach in our schools especially in early child learning how to look after state facilities that will go along way.

  8. Hello! says:

    Apa zaonekeratu kuti Youth Week Project ikuyenera kuyambanso. Ministry of Youth, would you please draft a bill on Youth Week Project that would be deliberated in parliament during the next sitting? Without Youth Week Project being reintroduced, most of the infrastructure in the schools and colleges will soon be history.

    Bravo Chanco students!!! That’s the way to go!!! Keep the self-help mentality alive!!!

  9. TruFactor says:

    This is good for Chanco and Malawi. I hope Nyasa Times should also do their job to acknowledge work by ADB which is underway at Chanco (including renovations and construction of new structures). Otherwise, some people may be misinformed that all is being done by these guys. All in all, well-done guys!

  10. Rodgers Banda says:

    Stop killing the intelligent future leaders

  11. Malawian Patriot says:

    This principle has to be taught at the village level as well. Umodzi Party believes that schools, roads, hospitals and yes companies can be realised if people adapt this idea. We can do it if we understand what we are doing. Money has never been the issue and it should not be the issue. Vision, value and vocations (3Vs) should be the driving force for national development. Everyone has a vision that is why we send our children to school. Our values are wrong, that is why we cheat and are corrupt. We do not know our vocations (what we need to do for others and ourselves in order to have a meaningful life) that is why we can not provide jobs. Please Malawians let us work as a team to develop ourselves at household level and then we will develop Malawi as a nation.

  12. victorious matache says:

    a legacy stays visible

  13. Sapitwa says:

    This is the spirit which lacks in most African Countries. Very encouraging and this will promote ownership and no student can think of vandalism where students disagree with University council.

  14. Everson Sichali says:

    This is a great initiative. Let us all join hands and help these visionaly students. Bravo to isabel for founding the project. You are inspiring!

  15. ras says:

    ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country. JFK.

  16. ras says:

    Its not what your country can do for you ,but what you can do for your country John f Kennedy. Fire burn keep it up.

  17. chinkombaleza gumanyundo gowa says:

    Do not be discouraged by non patriotic persons. Let me encourage you to keep it up and pass on to other students, as you go out to the world. We are the government too. Where we need to support government lets do so without hesitation. My plea let us support these wise and intelligent students.

  18. makito says:

    Yah, the College is giving a hand to the students to rehabilitate its own open theatre.

  19. jb says:

    GREAT INITIATE!!! all past Chanco Student Union Leaders must come out and support this

  20. Wizeman says:

    Good development, keep it up

  21. Mdicai Longwe says:

    BRAVO Chanco students I am behind you and promise to support your ideologies. I was brought up in this Zomba town though I had never passed through the collidors of the University but I am proud because my first born daughter is there though doing parallel programme. Keep o the good work. I promise to donate a little something during my visit to the Compus.

  22. peter muthanyula says:

    It is the duty of government and the University to do the renovations, not poor students. Ndalama zilipo mdziko muno, koma anthu kuba too much. When will government start putting taxes to good use in this country? (I am not talking about this particular government, but rather all post 1994 governments)

    1. Mbiyazodooka says:

      Awa ndiye timati maganizo obwerera mmbuyo. If you are not keen to assist then dont discourage others from doing so. Thanks Isabel and the team for the foresight!

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