African villages learning to rewrite their future

By September 24, 2007

Malawi (MNN) — When a community takes ownership of relief
and development, it can re-write its future. 

The village of
Chamoto in Malawi is a perfect example of this concept. What started as a literacy program has led to independence. 

Today, villagers in Chamoto have programs running where
orphans are being cared for, families have enough to eat, and more than 1,500
people are improving their reading and writing skills. 

Christian Reformed World Relief
Committee's
partner in Malawi. Nkhoma Relief & Development (NRD), helped start the literacy program. NRD incorporated various lessons into the
reading and writing curriculum. Students read passages from the Bible,
but they also learned about health, agriculture, and businesses. 

NRD suggested a program that would encourage local women to
meet together in community groups. The group members would learn lessons
about nutrition, health, agriculture, and business, and they would work
together on income generating projects. 

Chamoto is one of 22 centers where community workers
are placed, and 15 of those centers are
following the Chamoto model.
CRWRC's Phil Grabowski reports: "Some
of the best centers where these community workers are working. You can see the
community starting to make its own plans. The community is starting to write proposals even to the government and
to other organizations." 

Grabowski says once the vision takes hold, ministry
flourishes. "All of the community
workers who are hired are Christians and are taught biblical principles. When
they teach about agriculture, they teach about, 'What does the bible say about
agriculture?' and about business, the same thing. So when they're doing
programs, they're also sharing more about their faith."

With help, CRWRC and its partners can provide training and
support for communities like Chamoto around the world.

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