Smile Malawi

MalawiVandyke has had a long standing connection with the charity Smile Malawi. Smile Malawi is a charity that runs an orphanage and children’s centre in Ndokota, near Blantyre in Malawi. Malawi has a huge AIDS problem and many children are orphaned and live rough on the streets of Blantyre. Elspeth Baecke, who founded the orphanage caters for as many of these children as the orphanage can accommodate, taking them from the streets of Blantyre and providing with care and education.

We had our first Smile Week in 2007 and at that time the orphanage was just preparing to open to its first children. The orphanage now has 27 children and also helps support the local village community and school, having provided them with their own well. We have now raised over £6,000 for the charity and it receive regular updates and pictures that show us how the children are progressing. Elspeth herself has visited Vandyke to talk to the sixth form about the work of the charity and to thank them for their fundraising. She is planning to come again this October.

MalawiSmile Week is great fun: students organise fund raising events throughout the week, which have included “Strictly Come Dancing”, “Stars in their Eyes”, “Dragons’Den”, “Blind Date” and many others in which staff and students compete. The week always ends with a fancy dress competition and each year the Senior Student Team vies to raise more money than the previous year.

The week provides fun and entertainment to the whole school, and more importantly raises money for a cause with which we have a direct connection and whose results we can see for ourselves.