Welcome to Malawi!

The Sonder Project’s New Partner

Mar 4, 2020

In January of 2020, our CEO, Chad Zibelman, traveled to southeastern Africa to establish a Sonder Project office in Malawi. Often referred to as “The Warm Heart of Africa,” the country is known for its friendly people and Lake Malawi, its vast freshwater lake. Malawi is also considered one of the world’s poorest countries. According to the World Bank, Malawi’s annual per capita GDP of $389.40 ranks as the third lowest in the world. The country has struggled immensely with the AIDS epidemic, a declining tobacco crop and a lack of educational opportunities – among other problems. The Sonder Project is glad to be expanding our global program to partner with the Malawian people to overcome these challenges and help strengthen their communities. 

A current water source (left), which is nothing more than a pond of stagnant water, and a temporary classroom (right) made out of dried grasses.  Two of the projects The Sonder Project plans to replace in its first year in Malawi.

A major step in the process of establishing our programs has been hiring a Malawian Project Manager to oversee our work there. We’re excited to introduce to you the newest member of The Sonder Project Team, Beria Michembo. Beria grew up in the southern region near the town of Balaka and went to receive a bachelor’s degree in Irrigation Engineering at the University of Malawi’s Bunda College. In recent years, she has worked with the non-governmental organization, Days for Girls, which empowers women through social enterprise and health education. She has also acted as a reliable translator for our partners at buildOn. We look forward to having her represent us in the field. 

Meet the newest member of The Sonder Project Team, Malawi Project Manager, Beria Michembo.

So what lies ahead for Malawi in 2020? Come April, we’ll be leading our first group of Sonder Project supporters to the country to help with the construction of a new school. We have a team of 13 people who’ll be living and working with a local community for one week to help lay the school’s foundation, and ultimately replace the current outdoor, dilapidated classrooms – all of which will be done in partnership with buildOn. We also plan to install at least three water pumps for various communities currently relying on unsanitary water systems. Chad was able to visit several locales in need of new school blocks and cleaner water systems. In the months ahead, we look forward to supporting most if not all of these projects. Stay connected with The Sonder Project and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to see our progress. You can also support our efforts in Malawi by making a donation HERE.

A Sonder Project volunteer in Malawi on a past school building trip in partnership with buildOn.


We currently have spots available for our next school build trip scheduled for December 6 – 12, 2020.  Volunteers will experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to live and work in a rural Malawian community and return home inspired to help change the world – all with a greater understanding of our work abroad. Volunteers are required to pay or fundraise the costs of the trip. If you’re interested in learning more, please email Chad at chad@thesonderproject.org.

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