A Good Home, Community Building, Kamala-Jean Gopie, Malawi School

Now It’s The Women’s Turn

Remember Kamala-Jean?

She’s the Toronto woman who — exactly two years ago — met a young vendor in a  South African market, and proceeded to help transform not only Happy’s life, but the life of his community back home in Malosa, Malawi.

Blog Photo - Kamala-Jean and Happy and Family

Between Happy’s leadership in his community in Malosa, and Kamala-Jean’s guidance, personal philanthropy and fundraising back in Toronto, the first school was built last year. Three times the number of children they expected were enrolled.

Blog Photo - Kamala-Jean Women smile in schoolyard

Blog Photo - Kamala-Jean -- Schoolbuilding from side

And now there’s more great news! 

Blog Photo - Kamala-Jean -- Two girls in uniforms

It starts with this photo. Kamala-Jean explains:

“After Happy sent me the photos with two little girls in blue uniform dresses, I thought: maybe the women could learn to sew and make uniforms and earn funds sewing for others in the community.  So I suggested it to Happy and immediately he responded.

“The women were interested — 40 signed up for sewing and literacy classes and agreed to pay a fee. The classes would be held on Saturdays in the school.

Blog Photo - Kamala-Jean -- Children in schoolyard2

“I asked my friends to contribute funds to purchase sewing machines. A number responded with support.

“Then I realized that there would not be sufficient room because the current classroom was filled with furniture and 130 children (divided into 2 half-day classes). 

Blog Photo - Kamala-Jean kneels with kids

“So I suggested to Happy that we  should build a sewing classroom. This separate room means that the machines will be safe from damage (from the little children) and the women will have access to the room during the week – not just on Saturdays. 

Blog Photo - Kamala-Jean -- Children in schoolyard

“I told him to use some of the funds sent to purchase sewing machines to buy building materials, and I would  try to raise some additional funds for the construction (roughly $4,000 Canadian).

“Happy was off to work in no time! 

Blog Photo - Kamala-Jean -- new building nearly complete

Blog Photo - Kamala-Jean -- Happy demonstrating how the sewing machine works

“Classes began today (Monday March 26)! 

“The fee of 15,000MK is about $30.00 Canadian which is a fair amount since the majority of the population, who are subsistence farmers, live on about $1.00 per day. We still need help financially but so far I have managed.

Blog Photo - Kamala-Jean -- Woman sews and others watch2

“As usual, Happy has shown insight and vision as he seeks to improve the life of his  community.  He understands and tells me that education is the way to uplift his community out of poverty.

Blog Photo - Kamala-Jean -- New Building complete

“I see this sewing room becoming a kind of centre for the community.

“Now today Happy emailed to tell me that the men want to know what can be done to help them because the young children have a  school and the women have sewing classes!!!  I told him to have the men provide suggestions and we will discuss to see what is feasible.

“It is now exactly two years since I  met Happy in Cape Town. If anyone had said that so much would happen in these two years I would have said impossible.   

“This project has brought me a great deal of joy, satisfaction  and fulfilment as I see the difference that has been made in the lives of the people in the small community of Malosa (and without costing  tens of thousands of dollars!!!)”

Bravo, Happy and Kamala-Jean and community!

Photos by Chimwemwe (Happy) Musa 

45 thoughts on “Now It’s The Women’s Turn”

  1. This makes me very happy – and grateful to Happy and Kamala-Jean. Such vision and perseverance!

    1. Will do, Lisa! I’m keeping tabs on this story as it develops. And on Happy too. Who was to know that this young man had it in him to lead such an incredible initiative? Kamala-Jean was very astute.

  2. The young men are interested in two things
    1. to get help to deal with HIV/AIDS – widespread in Malawi. Well beyond the level of support I am able to provide
    2, upgrading their education since many are drop outs – we will likely offer classes for them. Will follow up with this when i go to Malawi in May
    Kamala Jean


  3. A wonderful story of what can be achieved when we put our minfs to it. Bravo indeed to all involved

  4. This is the kind of story that should be in the front page of the newspaper and the top story of the TV news. THIS is what we humans are all about. I honor and thank Kamala-Jean, and Happy, and all the women and children of the village.

  5. Oh, these are the stories that matter. Thank you for telling us this one! So many of us sit and stew about the state of the world, focusing on things over which we have little control. But to create real change, as your friend has done–THAT is how it happens.

  6. Kamala-Jean and Happy are forces to be reckoned with, forces for good! I kind of love that the women and children came first and now the men are looking to be part of it all . . .

    1. Its a good development indeed. I also like Happy’s approach of having the community contribute through fees, etc. They’re developing skills and a local economy as they move ahead. And it shows foreign donors that they aren’t just waiting for handouts.

  7. A most inspiring post, Cynthia, with gorgeous photography from Chimwemwe Musa (“Happy”).

    Gosh, that a chance conversation in a Cape Town market between a Canadian woman and a young man, a vendor, should have led to such a breathtaking example of philanthropic good works and community leadership, with a lightning transformation wrought in the latter’s home village of Malosa in Malawi, a first school opened for the children already, a dedicated sewing room for the women too. I can well imagine the excited buzz and happy chatter.

    Hats off indeed, to Kamala-Jean and “Happy” for their Herculean efforts, and to the community for rallying so and pulling together.

    I just hope something can be done for the men of Malosa too.

    My very best,


  8. I am awestruck at the devotion and diligence of both Kamala-Jean and Happy in improving the life of this community. For all the nay-sayers in the world who complain “it can’t be done,” – whatever “it” might be – just look. It sure can. Kudos to them.

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