Can your Wing Fly Forever?

November 15th, 2018

(More Stories..)

A paraglider dies after only 400 hours of flying, but what if they could fly forever?

Well, after 14 years, and about 2500 hours of flying, I had retired six un-flyable wings to my closet and it was beginning to be a problem. I was holding onto them for sentimental reasons, unwilling to separate myself from the magical adventures each one of them encompassed. What else could I do?

Years earlier, I had travelled to Malawi, Africa and helped a young man there become his country's first Paraglider Pilot. Since then I have struggled to find a way to help other foreigners feel comfortable in doing the same. To me, the path was always clear, but less clear was determining how the project could be funded. Unwilling to be under the thumb of corporate sponsors or take the standard approach, of soliciting donations of westerners for yet another project in Africa, I was in a moral standoff of sorts.

And then one day I opened my closet only to have 40 kg of precariously balanced bags of old nylon come tumbling down and it hit me! I could take these gliders to Malawi, find people who needed work, teach them to transform them into something useful. Then together, we could sell them to support both their community and this unique paragliding initiative.

That's what happened, and over the past three years:

- four hard-working moms have learned to sew
- they have setup their own communal work space, complete with two foot-powered sewing machines
- 20 un-flyable wings have been sent to Malawi
- 250 bags have been produced and sold as a result
- the program has become self-sustaining model of repurposing, dedication, and ingenuity.

Now that the bags are selling and the program is running, attention has gone into supporting:

- the a Solar Powered Internet Centre for Youth, complete with a large table and four tablets with access to Wikipedia
- 15 volunteers stay at The School of Dreams centre, further contributing to the program infrastructure and local economy
- two young Malawians, in their desires to fly free, with another two slated for training in 2019

And so what about your wings? Will they fly forever? Will that porous old nylon be transformed into jobs, useful items and the opportunities for the young men and women of Malawi to share your passion for free-flight?

That's for you to decide! Either way, I am grateful to you for taking the time to read about what we have created and invite you to be a part of the magic in whatever way works for you.

Here are a few useful links:

- Check out the beautiful new Adventure Bags
- Donate a glider (flyable or not) to The School of Dreams
- Volunteer in 2019

Ben :)

Open for Dream Business!

Today is a day we can all join hands and Celebrate! Today marks a milestone of determination and the power of Dreams in the face of Fear, Adversity and Despair.  Friends, Today, many pieces of a very complex puzzle will align as the first ever School of Dreams participant will step foot in Malawi and begins engaging with the magic we've all, in some way, big or small, contributed to by standing behind this unique concept.  [right:image:22839][url=/participants/matthew_van_zyl]Matthew van Zyl[/url] of South Africa, we welcome you as the first, non-commercial, Solo Pilot to begin the magical Dream Exchange process with the beautiful people of Malawi. May you share your gifts and be equally moved and inspired by theirs, and may your wing soar high as the hearts of the children, excited to greet you upon your return to Earth.  On top of bringing gliders for future paragliding students for supervised ground-handling, Matthew will bring his passion for inspiring classrooms around the world about this wonderful form of free-flight.  Inspired? [url=/opportunities/fly_malawi_2018]Registration for 2018[/url] will open next January.  [b]Today, you can Support this Project by:[/b]  [url=/opportunities/contribute_equipment]Contributing Small or X-Small, Airworthy, Student[/url] gliders to the project Grabbing an [url=]Adventure Bag[/url], made from recycled paragliders by proud mothers of Malawi Downloading any of Benjamin's inspiring [url=]Adventure Documentaries[/url] Today!  Thank you all! <3 Ben  [group:image:22842][group:image:22838][group:image:22840]

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Dream Lights

Less than 2% of Malawian youth will attend high-school. Less than 2% have light in their homes. We believe these numbers are closely linked and are committed to raising the standard of education in Malawi with the distribution of solar powered light for students.  [right:image:23359]Malawians work hard, mostly in their fields in order to feed their families, occasionally selling a chicken for spending money. The village of Mganja, home to the School of Dreams, is completely off grid and some homes have collected enough money for simple solar light setups.  Many however are putting their money into schooling and supplies, choosing instead to invest in their children's future. As a result of this financial burden, those that need light the most have been forced to go without.  [right:image:23364]The 'Dream Lights' initiative honors the efforts of hard working students by offering them the gift of Solar Powered Light, enabling them to complete their homework and allowing them to excel in school to their maximum potential.  Together with Goal Zero, we launched the pilot project in July of 2018, installing kits in ten homes, providing an average of six hours of light per day to a total of 26 students. Their progress is being tracked and, if the results are positive, we will propose that another 100 kits be set up so that every student in the village may benefit from this sustainable energy.  [show:image:23376]  [url=]Click here[/url] to see the Dream Lights Photo Documentary.

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Cool new bags, hand-made from Recycled Paragliders!

Adventure Bags & Pouches

Adventure Bags are hand-made from recycled paragliders and traditional Malawian Chitenje cloth. Each bag is a unique piece of functional art and was made by a proud mom who learned to sew at The School of Dreams in Malawi. Read more.. or Get Yours Today!