Malawi journalist of the year donates newspapers to students

Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Malawi-Chapter journalist of the year Albert Sharra has taken the route that turned him a journalist to students in Chilomoni Township with a donation of a six months newspaper subscription to four schools.

Albert Sharra: Journalist of the year

The donation has been made through Chilomoni Foundation for Education and Development (CFED), a charity foundation Sharra and others founded in 2015.

CFED is implementing a reading programme that will benefit Mulunguzi Community Day Secondary School, Mulunguzi Primary School, Michiru CCAP primary school and Lumbira Community Day Secondary School. According to the project’s concept paper, each of the schools will be receiving a free copy of the Weekend Nation newspaper for a period of six months from Saturday 30th September 2017.

“It is with pleasure to announce the inauguration of Tiwerenge Project. This is a pilot project aimed at bringing current affairs closer to students and to improve reading culture among school going students. The project has delayed due to lack of funding, but we are happy that finally, one of our members decided to donate 30 percent of his MISA prize money for this dream to come true,” said Gremson Swart, the acting president.

According to Swart, the foundation wants all schools in Chilomoni Township to be receiving a copy of a newspaper every day. He added that they are currently inviting partners to support this project by paying directly to publishers for a newspaper copy they want for a school of their choice.

“It is not news that we have a reading culture problem in Malawi especially among students. This requires new ideas that can make them want to read more. Access to a newspaper is just one of them. Again, it is imperative for students to stay updated with reality and current affairs,” said Swart.

Sharra, who is currently away for further studies, says he is happy that some students can now access newspapers.

He said his decision is motivated by his background.  Sharra said during his days at Thyolo Secondary school, he was a member of the Voice of Thyolo (Voto), a current affairs club, which produces news stories and also compile profiles of students and staff at the school. These stories are later shared with all students.

“I always say my days at Thyolo Secondary school backed by my family background are what turned me into a journalist. As a Voto member, I enjoyed being the first on current affairs and ever since, journalism has been my first career. I want to support students who want to join the profession and access to newspapers is just one of the ways,” he said, adding that he believes in being part of the solution to community problems.

In May this year, Sharra was named Journalist of the year for the second year running by Misa Malawi-Chapter, becoming the first journalist to defend the title in consecutive years.

He also won two other individual awards.

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