by Karen Osborn, Kuséwera Founder
I’ve always enjoyed travel, being active and volunteering… but when I visited the children at Mtendere Village Orphanage in Malawi, Africa in 2008, my life changed forever. I realized the ability to be able to combine all three of these things. I started a foundation called Kuséwera, which means “to play” in Chichewa, the language of Malawi. My hope is to share that passion and allow others the chance to experience it for themselves.
Malawi is known as one of the world’s poorest nations, and has close to a million orphans due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and Malaria outbreaks. With Kuséwera, the mission is to enrich the lives of these children through active and productive play. We create affordable humanitarian trips that enable volunteers from all walks of life to travel with us and personally help implement the Kuséwera program. We encourage and invite anyone to volunteer, and in turn, gain valuable perspective while making a long term difference in the lives of the children.
This past October, we went to Malawi with a small group of volunteers to reassess the needs of the children and reevaluate the program structure. The Kuséwera program activities include sports, dance, music, art, and creative writing. Volunteers are involved in coaching, mentoring, demonstrations, lessons in teamwork and sportsmanship, conducting confidence building activities, creativity and encouragement for the kids. The children gain knowledge from life skills that encourage positive personal growth.
Kuséwera’s Girl Power Initiative, is a campaign that focuses on the girls. We call it, Mphamvu Ya Atsikana, which means “the strength of the girls”, and translates to us as GIRL POWER! We encourage women to give back, empower our young girls and see how they can affect these young women in Africa, with special attention to confidence, equality, good health and hygiene. Our hope is to empower these girls so that they can hope, dream and set goals for a better future.
Our next 2 trips are set for 2011, are you coming with us? Check us out online at www.kusewera.org or drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kuséwera is a foundation, associated with 100Xmissions, a non-profit 501(c)(3)
Karen Osborn is a sports talent agent with Sports + Lifestyle Unlimited, providing sports models to various print and commercial projects including some of the fabulous models you see for Athleta. She was a 3-sport athlete in high school and college, and has continued her love for being active by enjoying a variety of sports such as competing in duathlons, hiking and often playing co-ed softball.