A SPECIAL DEDICATION
In April of 2016, the world lost music icon, Prince. For In a Perfect World, we lost an inspiration. Having been married to our founder when In a Perfect World was born, Prince became our first supporter. This deep personal loss was devastating for Manuela, who had just announced in December 2015 her desire to construct a school in his honor, to thank him for his inspiration and dedication to making the world more perfect. Prince did not live to see the school built, but Manuela pressed on with her plan. In October 2016, the school was built in Malawi, Africa.
Why Malawi? Malawi, a landlocked country in southeast Africa, is home to nearly 14 million people. It is one of the most densely populated and least developed countries in the world. Malawi claims one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS, with 15% of adults age 15-49 already infected, and a growing number of children orphaned by this disease. The vast majority of people live in rural areas in communities where up to 90% of adults are unable to read and write. Malawi is also a country rich in history, culture and music.
At the time of construction, the village of Ng’ozo did not have a school in place, which meant that students had to walk 10 kilometers to the nearest school, which is in the village of Chigombe. Because of In a Perfect World, there is now a permanant school that has enough classrooms to accommodate all of the students and grade levels being taught in Ng’ozo.
BELOW: The structure outside Ng’ozo was not suitable for learning.
a warm welcome
The IAPW team was welcomed by members of the Ng’ozo community with dancing, singing and drumming. Their excitement and gratitude was incredible. They led us deep into the valley where the school stands.
The community gathered for the inauguration ceremony, to hear councilmen, representatives from the Ministry of Education and Manuela give speeches. The ceremony also involved traditional song and dance.
The first day of school
The IAPW team stayed in Ng’ozo overnight with host families so we could spend time with the children on their first day of school. We expected to have around 150 students but ended up with 282 on the first day! We could see first hand the pride and excitement the children felt about having their own school.
Cause for celebration
BELOW: Excited students celebrate with Manuela after school as she teaches them how to do the chicken dance…
Often in the developing world, educating girls is not a priority. They may be held from attending school so they may contribute to domestic duties, or they spend their time fetching water from a far away source. As with every school that IAPW funds, this community committed to sending boys and girls to school in equal numbers.
A COMMUNITY EMPOWERED
The people of Ng’ozo now have access to education that will help change the lives of children, parents, and grandparents for generations to come. Each new school helps Malawi increase literacy rates one community at a time.
This school is dedicated to a man who stood for empowerment, compassion and justice. He celebrated individuality and freedom, and inspired each of us to be our highest self. He wanted to unite people and raise up entire communities. He reminded us to always show Love4OneAnother and to strive for a more Perfect World. Prince, we honor you, we miss you and we love you.
With our deepest love & gratitude,
Manuela Testolini & In a Perfect World
A second school was also built with seed money from the Prince community. More info about that school will be here soon… subscribe to stay in the know!