Open for Dream Business!
Mathew is the School of Dreams Operations Manager, Malawi's only active Paraglider Pilot and your new best friend! [right:image:22617]He first met with Benjamin shortly after the discovery of the Mganja flying site during the 2014 Expedition. Of the eight people interviewed for future pilot training, Mathew was the only one who found ways to keep in touch on a regular basis until Benjamin's return, two years later. It is worth noting that, after the many challenges which arose in 2014, Benjamin was on the fence about continuing the project. It was, in fact, Mathew's keenness to learn and desire to fly which motivated the Canadian to return. Thanks to his fantastic English and hard work ethic, he and Benjamin were able to exceed the three main goals they had set out to complete during their time together in May and June of 2016. [show:image:22465] [b]Goals Completed:[/b][ol] [li]Make Mathew into a competent novice pilot (27 flights and 5 hrs logged)[/li] [li]Set up a Solar Powered Internet Cafe for local youth.[/li] [li]Create local jobs by purchasing sewing machines and teaching local moms to sew.[/li] [/ol]Since Jordan left at the end of June, Mathew has flown several dozen more times and has taught himself to fly cross-country. He has also taken on teaching the youth how to use the new Internet resources and works with the women on various community sewing projects. [show:image:22633] [right:image:22595]Mathew is one of the sweetest guys you'll ever meet and is overjoyed at the thought of international pilots coming to fly with him next year! When you visit the School of Dreams, Mathew will be happy to meet you at the airport in Lilongwe (LLW) and help you immerse yourself in the community and culture, at your own pace.
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]