Dream Lights

December 6th, 2018 - Mganja, Dedza, Malawi

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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.

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.

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.

Click here to see the Dream Lights Photo Documentary.

Can your Wing Fly Forever?

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?  [right:image:22306]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.  [b]That's what happened, and over the past three years:[/b]  - 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.  [show:image:22684]  [b]Now that the bags are selling and the program is running, attention has gone into supporting:[/b]  - 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  [right:image:23339]And so what about your wings? [b]Will they fly forever?[/b] 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 [url=https://etsy.com/shop/TheSchoolofDreams]Adventure Bags[/url] - [url=http://theschoolofdreams.org/equipment_form]Donate a glider[/url] (flyable or not) to The School of Dreams - [url=http://theschoolofdreams.org/volunteer_form]Volunteer[/url] in 2019  Ben :)  [group:image:22695][group:image:22709][group:image:22710][group:image:22712]

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Fly Malawi 2020

Pilots wishing to be amongst of the first humans to free fly in Malawi are welcome to register, come January of 2020, for three different opportunities between May and August of 2020.  [right:image:22111][/]All pilots will be greeted by Mathew at the airport in Lilongwe and taken to, and lodged at, the beautiful Nazareth Community Centre in Mganja village. Mathew will act as your personal guide, translator and best friend.  [url=http://theschoolofdreams.org/opportunities/paraglider_resources]Click here for more information on pilot resources.[/url]  [h2]The three opportunities are:[/h2]  [right:image:22592][/][b]1. Volunteer Instructor[/b]  You will spend one month or more, working one on one, with a young Malawian man or woman who dreams to fly as well. We will arrange their equipment and accommodation. Mathew will be available to support you as a wind technician or guide in the landing area. Students will be fluent in English.  [url=http://theschoolofdreams.org/opportunities/instructors]Click here for more information on instructing.[/url]   [right:image:22626][/][b]2. Volunteer Tandem Pilot[/b]  You will spend two weeks or more flying whenever you like, gifting tandem flights to the beautiful people of the Mganja Village area. We have a tandem kit on site, ready for you to use. You are also welcome to bring your own kit and fly solo when you choose.  [url=http://theschoolofdreams.org/opportunities/fly_tandem]Click here for more information on flying tandem.[/url]  [right:image:22438][/][b]3. Solo Pilot[/b]  You will spend two weeks or more flying whenever you like. There are options to fly in other parts of the country once you have flown Mganja for at least one week. Mathew will be able to accompany you if he has not already committed himself to supporting volunteers or other pilots in the Mganja area.  [url=http://theschoolofdreams.org/opportunities/fly_solo]Click here for more information on flying solo.[/url]  Space is limited so you are encouraged to [url=mailto:lyndsay@theschoolofdreams.org]contact us[/url] immediately to express your interest. Mention which of the three opportunities you are interested in, as well as when you are available and your experience level. We will respond as soon as possible.

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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!