Maroon may be the colour at George Watson’s College, but our school was delighted to go green in Malawi, as a result of generous donations from Hibernian FC.
The Scottish Premiership team provided dozens of football kits, jackets, boots and polo shirts which our pupils took with them to gift as part of the school’s Malawi Partnership.
This partnership aims to facilitate work between Watson’s pupils, staff, parents, former parents and other friends of the school and members of the wider community to build sustainable and mutually beneficial partnerships with organisations and individuals in Malawi.
Principal, Melvyn Roffe, said: “Maroon may well be our colour at Watson’s, but we were absolutely delighted that Hibernian were able to support us for our pupils’ trip to Malawi this year. The power of our young people, along with the excitement of professional football is a cogent combination. It has made for a real win for young people in Zomba, Lilongwe, and Kasungu.”
Hibernian FC chief executive Leeann Dempster, said: “We were happy to support the team from George Watson’s College on their trip to Malawi, with what was clearly a great cause.
“It’s another example of how we can use the power of football to make a difference – not only in our local community but across the world – to the lives of those who need a helping hand.”
Activities and Experiences
During the two-week trip, pupils were also involved in visiting the Open Arms Orphanages and Outreach programmes which care for babies and toddlers, and work with their families so the children can return to their communities when they are older. This charity also operates feeding stations which provide care and a daily meal for the returning orphans and all other children in their villages
Our pupils were also fortunate enough to gain first-hand insight into the kind of issues which affect teenagers in Malawi when they visited the Steka Project which provides a loving home environment, education, and training to children and young people who have been abandoned by their carers.
The group visited and worked in many schools throughout Malawi participating in and teaching lessons, supporting children's reading and providing educational materials, purchased locally, to support the work of the dedicated but under-resourced teachers.
Zomba forest fires
Two teams in Zomba, Happy Hammers FC U18 and the senior side received the kit from Hibernian. Both are involved in a campaign led by Zomba Forest Lodge in partnership with, a not for profit organisation, Treez which aims to reforest Zomba plateau which is 40 hectares in size.
One of the biggest threats faced on Zomba are forest fires, all of which are man-made, often caused by people from within the communities because of a misguided sense that fires present better economic opportunities.
The project actively engages the local community by supporting their football and netball teams. In return, the communities act as firefighting responders.
As a result, the number of fires has reduced from 40, five years ago to only one so far this year. People now understand the benefits to the community of firewood, water supply, and food sources – all of which are drastically threatened by deforestation through fire.
Scores Football Club in Lilongwe was also one of the beneficiaries with U12, U15 and U21 teams all receiving kit. This club helps take young men off the streets and gets the U21s to act as role models and mentors to the two younger teams.
Our school also had new goalposts made and bought nets and footballs. The other major beneficiary was Chamunya Primary School in the Kasungu district, north of Lilongwe, where the U10s and the U12s were kitted out in the green of Hibernian.