Who we are

Malawi Music Fund is a small charity registered in Scotland (SC045661). We work with Malawian teachers and musicians in using music and the arts to enable orphaned children in Malawi to transform their lives.

The charity is managed by seven trustees all of whom live in Orkney, have a professional background in education and give their time, skills and expertise voluntarily. A trustee travels to Malawi regularly, usually twice a year, joining our Malawian team in running activity weeks, visiting local schools and meeting the young people who are supported through our bursary schemes. All trustees and other volunteers who travel to Malawi cover their own expenses.

The children’s creativity and ways of thinking are developed through music, art and dance. They make friends and are given guidance – the project develops the whole person. It will provide long-term benefits not only to these children but to the whole area.

David Zuzanani
former manager of Likhubula House, Mulanje


Meet Our Trustees

From left to right: Sylvia Thorne, Roderick Thorne, Elizabeth Sullivan, Joanna Sutherland, Glenys Hughes,
Alan Massey and Sheila Campbell.

Sheila Campbell

Empowering young people to achieve their full potential has been my aim since I started teaching in 1966. After 17 years as a Head Teacher in primary schools in central Scotland I retired to Orkney. I enjoy singing as part of Orkney’s Winter Choir whose sell-out concert in St Magnus Cathedral raises funds for Malawi Music Fund each December.  MMF supports orphaned children in Malawi: Children are the focus, Music is the avenue and Education is the key, so I was honoured to be invited to become one of the trustees. The Fund is based in and managed from Orkney, ensuring that monies raised go directly to support the orphans who are committed members of Likhubula Children’s Choir. The accountability of children, guardians and the invaluable Malawian staff is monitored rigorously both in Malawi and Orkney. Even the working visits from Orkney, usually twice annually, are self-funded.

Dr Glenys Hughes MBE, secretary and founder

I first went to Malawi in 2004 when I took a year’s leave of absence from my job as Director of Orkney’s St Magnus Festival.  Little did I know that Malawi would remain such an important part of my life! Music is central to Malawian culture and seemed to me to be an ideal vehicle for bringing together orphaned children for activities which would brighten their lives while giving their guardians valuable respite time.  Now, thanks to the commitment and expertise of our Malawian partners and the generosity of so many supporters, Malawi Music Fund has broadened beyond its original vision into an education project which is making a real impact on the lives of Malawi’s orphans.  I look forward to my regular visits – to meeting the Malawian tutors who have become close friends and to working with these enthusiastic children and young people.

Dr Alan Massey

I moved to Orkney in 2010 to work as a Behaviour Support Teacher with Orkney Islands Council. My original qualification was in music and I have been involved in music in the church most of my life.  The unique selling point of Malawi Music Fund is that the money raised goes to young people that are known to us, giving them a chance to break the cycle of poverty by supporting them to achieve the best level of education they can. Without our help, school fees and other costs would end their school careers after primary level and waste their potential.  Funds are targeted at these young people rather than being sent en masse to a generic fund. As a trustee of Malawi Music Fund I help to fundraise and to ensure that money is used properly. We work hard to follow closely the rules laid down by OSCR. I have been involved in the website development and have taken part in various funding events, including playing the organ for a ‘Come and Sing Fauré’s Requiem’ in March 2019.

Dr Elizabeth Sullivan

I am a musician and musicologist and I have been living in Orkney since 2003.  I teach violin and viola privately and for the Orkney Islands Council, and I direct Orkney Camerata.  The first time I heard Glenys talk about the Malawi Music Fund, I knew I had to support it in whatever way I could. How often can you know for certain that 100% of the proceeds from fundraising go directly to the project? The Malawi Music Fund makes such a difference in the lives of the young people it serves. As a musician, I have performed in (and sometimes organised) concerts and events in aid of the Fund, including an informal annual concert by Orkney musicians of all ages.

Joanna Sutherland

I’m a dance teacher in Orkney where I run my own studio. After working with Glenys in theatre productions for several years I decided to accompany her to Malawi in August 2017 to offer my skills as a dance teacher and to create a special performance for the charity’s 10th anniversary. I instantly fell in love with Malawi and its culture of music and dance.  Since then I’ve returned on two occasions and I’ve enjoyed teaching the children different dance styles – ballet, jazz and street dance.  I’m delighted now to be one of the trustees and to see with my own eyes what this wonderful charity can do for these children.  They have very little, but being part of the Children’s Choir helps makes life so much more enjoyable and Malawi Music Fund is the supporting hand which makes it possible for them to achieve their goals.

Sylvia Thorne, chairperson

In April 2007 I accompanied Glenys to Malawi for the first Likhubula music week with the first forty orphaned children.  Through my experience as an art teacher I was able to introduce these children to art and crafts which they had never before experienced.  In return I came to know them and to marvel at the way music is so much part of their lives.  I found this so worthwhile that I returned many times and craft is now an integral part of the Likhubula weeks for the children.  Although I do not go with Glenys these days I have experienced the Malawi Music Fund in action and am proud to be chairman of this small charity in which the trustees are committed to making sure that every penny raised benefits these children directly and that every one of ‘our children’ matters.

Roderick Thorne, treasurer

I’ve lived in Sanday, Orkney, since 1984 where I’ve had two careers, first as Head Teacher, then island Ranger. I’ve been to Malawi five times, and for the first couple of years of the activity weeks I was self-appointed Director of Sport, and enjoyed the way that team-games helped the children to get to know each other in those early days. In the years that have passed since the establishment of Likhubula Children’s Choir I’ve been astonished by their accomplishments and the concomitant growth in their self-confidence and impressed by their achievements.  Each year they have taken advantage of the expertise offered, not only in singing but in dancing, drumming, art and craft – and a number have achieved academic or vocational levels that once they could only have dreamed about.

Our Malawian Team

We’re fortunate to work with a close-knit team of talented Malawian musicians and teachers who are committed to the project and to the welfare of the children.

Margaret Kamkwamba, music tutor

Margaret is a music graduate and director of music for the Synod of Blantyre CCAP [Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian].  As well as teaching singing and music reading, Margaret regularly interviews the children, sees their school reports and encourages them. She is our local administrator and our safeguarding officer.

I enjoy teaching and singing with the children and I can bring musical skills in singing and reading music. I care about all the children, individually and personally.  

Rev. Maxwell Songola, music tutor

Maxwell is a music graduate, a former director of music for Blantyre Synod and a qualified secondary school English teacher. He composes and teaches songs which encourage the children to celebrate and care for their environment and explore social issues such as early marriage. He acts as an adviser to the children and their guardians.

Likhubula Children’s Choir provides psychological healing to boys and girls who may think their future is hopeless. By involving them in the choir they are assured that there is someone who cares about them and brings hope for their future. The Choir is also a social activist because we interact with other organisations that care for vulnerable boys and girls, such as a nearby technical school. Young people undergo carpentry, welding, baking, tailoring, catering and other courses to build up skills that will be useful for their living. Some of our boys and girls have attended tertiary education which is an encouragement to younger children. Likhubula Children’s Choir is not a feeding programme but is a means of encouraging young people to discover their talents and shape them for the future. Membership of the choir is interdenominational. Boys and girls of different religious affiliations are brought together which builds up fraternity.

Vitumbiku Nguluwe and Stanley Chiwaya, traditional music tutors

Vitu and Stanley are multi-talented singers, dancers and drummers. Vitu teaches traditional songs and dances and composes new songs for the Children’s Choir.  Stanley teaches African drumming.  Both are members of Limbe CCAP Joint Choir, a group which is well known in Malawi for its research into and performance of traditional Malawian music.

This is a project that helps the children to unleash their hidden talent through singing, dancing and drum beating; and it encourages the children to be interactive in different social activities, giving them confidence to be active and hardworking at school. (Stanley)

The children learn about their culture through performing traditional dances such as Malipenga, Beni and Ingoma, and it’s good for the children when other people appreciate their performances. (Vitu)

Kingsley Mmambo, houseparent

Kingsley looks after the boys and communicates information to the guardians. He devises games for the children, helps with the singing and dancing and occasionally leads the older children on hikes on Mount Mulanje.  When we need anything – from a PA system to beads for a headdress – Kingsley can find it!

I live near many of the children so I can understand their problems and encourage them. I want to help change their lives.

Eneles Chaononga, houseparent

Eneles has been part of our team since 2007. She looks after the girls, takes unwell children to the clinic, helps with craft activities and visits the schools to pay school fees and collect reports. Like Kingsley, Eneles lives in Mulanje and keeps in regular contact with the children and their families.

This project changes children’s lives. They are given a chance to complete their education, even to go to university. They are made to feel proud and confident and they learn skills which can benefit the whole community.

Peter Kachoka,
deputy head teacher, Samson Primary School

Peter is a regular member of our team. He coaches the standard 8 children in preparation for the Primary School Leaving Certificate, the exam which the children must pass in order to be selected for secondary school.  Peter also assists with art and craft projects.

Stay up to date on our activities

By subscribing you agree that you accept our privacy policy and consent to receive emails from Malawi Music Fund. We will not sell your personal information and you can unsubscribe at any time.