The Residential Youth Program is D2D’s second-largest program and one that is very close to our hearts. This program provides the opportunity for vulnerable youth to have a safe, supportive, and structured family-oriented home life, where they may concentrate on their education and personal development. Presently, D2D houses 44 youth on our campus, providing them with everything a home should. All residential youth share similar backgrounds, having been orphaned or coming from families that struggle to make ends meet. To be considered for the program, a young person must demonstrate a need and a desire to live in a controlled environment. They are often referred to us by members of the community such as teachers and village chiefs. Our residential youth bring life to the Maji Zuwa campus, and are among the top academic performers of all 339 sponsored youth! Although D2D is their full-time home, we encourage our residential youth to visit their families during holiday breaks throughout the year. To keep families involved with our program, D2D also opens its doors to parents and guardians alike for the Annual Residential Youth Meeting.
The meeting was held this past Saturday, August 31st, with every residential youth dressed to impress as their loved ones poured into Maji Zuwa. Breakfast was served, followed by an opening prayer to begin the day. The meeting began with introductions of the Residential House Committee and D2D Staff. The Residential House Committee consists of community members and D2D staff who are committed to the protection and success of our residential youth. The committee ensures that every young person under our care has access to several avenues if they ever need to speak up about any injustice. Notable members include our chief, Group Village Headman Mtowerayifwa and Mr. Paul Kondowe, who serves as the child protection officer with the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Welfare. The rest of the morning was dedicated to introductions of our youth and their family members, where they shared a little about themselves and their experiences at Maji Zuwa with the group. Following introductions, our Residential Youth Manager, Robert Chikwezga and School Sponsorship Program Manager, Geoff Mzembe gave presentations on the rules and regulations of the residential house, as well as expectations regarding behavior and academic performance. These presentations serve as a reminder to both the parents and youth of D2D’s no-tolerance policies and commitment to propelling youth forward to become change-makers in Malawi. Afterward, the youth gave tours of their home, showing off their greenhouse and many pets. Finally, the busy day came to a close and lunch was served. Everyone took this time to catch up with one another before saying their goodbyes. We are incredibly grateful to have had time with the parents and guardians, to come together as a community and empower our youth to realize their full potential!