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About Phunzira

"To help provide academic and non-academic educational and health assistance to impoverished children and adults in the north of Malawi"

Phunzira is a UK-based charity that was founded in 2009 in order to help impoverished children and adults in the north of Malawi receive better education and health care. Our main objective is to provide resources and materials to the people of Ruarwe and its surrounding villages, and to create an approachable and healthy environment that focuses on long-term, sustainable community development. We believe in the notion of collective responsibility and awareness, and seek to initiate grassroots projects that encourage social and economic growth whilst always maintaining a focus on community and individual empowerment. 


Ruarwe is a small fishing village located along the northern shores of lake Malawi (formerly Lake Nyasa), roughly 60km north of Nkhata Bay and 500km north of the capital Lilongwe.

It is an extremely rural and beautiful part of the country which suffers from lack of infrastructure: there are no roads, no power grids and limited phone reception.
 Map of Malawi
   Map of Ruarwe


Rosa Nissim: Founder & Project Co-ordinator
Rosa has spent more than 15 years working and operating in the charitable sphere on both a paid and voluntary basis, as well as partaking in numerous youth leadership schemes in England and abroad. After completing a BA in Literature (Birmingham University, 2004) and a BSc in Mathematics (King's College London, 2007), she went to the north of Malawi to teach Mathematics at a secondary school in Nkhata Bay and worked in various educational arenas throughout the year. In 2008 she spent 2 months in Ruarwe before returning to the UK and in 2009 Phunzira was founded.  She now works full-time in Malawi co-ordinating Phunzira's projects on the ground.

Philippa Mander: Health Co-ordinator
Philippa gained her registration as a Paediatric Nurse in 2012. This follows a degree in Applied Psychology from Durham University and 5 years working in Finance, Legal services and IT in two City companies. Philippa has taken time out from work to travel extensively in sub-Saharan Africa where she has undertaken various volunteering opportunities. In early 2012 she went to Ruarwe to complete her nursing clinical elective placement at the local health centre, returning in September 2012 to complete a research audit on malaria testing. In 2013 Philippa joined the Phunzira team as Health Co-ordinator and in 2014 moved to Malawi to assist with Phunzira's health initiatives on the ground.

Our Vision: What We Are Trying to Achieve

Our Philosophy

Phunzira strongly believes in harnessing the power of education as a means of helping individuals and communities to develop, both socially and economically, while preserving the culture and traditions of their surrounding environment.  We are hopefully beginning to realise that over-simplified ‘do this’ solutions do not have nearly enough impact on the kind of long-term, structural and abject poverty that is so prevalent in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

Phunzira believes in spreading and sharing information, know-how and resources, through the implementation of grassroots projects that have been inspired by looking at the fundamental needs and aspirations of the communities they are designed to serve.  

Our projects focus on:

implementing COMMUNITY-DRIVEN initiatives
if a project is being designed to serve a community, we must surely include that community in the design process; if we fail in this, all we will be doing is designing initiatives to serve what ‘we think’ are the communities’ requirements

a huge part of the success of community initiatives lie in the ability of the community itself to take social, cultural and - in time - financial responsibility for its own ongoing development; Phunzira implements community income-generating schemes associated with its projects so that after a period, the community will be able to take over management

and towards which the community feels REAL OWNERSHIP
being involved in the aims, objectives and operation of ongoing initiatives will only ever enhance the sense of ownership which a community feels towards it; Phunzira strongly believes that community development has the greatest effect when local members feel part of the journey

Educational Aims and Objectives

»   To provide activity-based tuition sessions on selected academic subjects covered at primary and secondary level, as well as access study aids such as learning rooms, computers and a library.

»   To act as a support centre whereby local primary and secondary schools can access or borrow spare educational materials belonging to the centre.

»   To initiate a forum in which English schools can donate unused school books and laboratory equipment directly towards the educational needs of children in Africa.

»   To offer an approachable environment where members of nearby local communities can receive information and advice on basic life skills such as fishing, crop cultivation and AIDS awareness.

Health Aims & Objectives

»   To offer appropriate and targeted health education with a focus on communicable diseases (eg. HIV and AIDS, malaria), nutrition, sanitation, maternal health and family planning.

»   To develop and implement sustainable projects which will improve the health of rural communities in the area and focus on community empowerment.

»   To improve basic primary health care services in the area by assisting with the acquisition of equipment, knowledge and manpower.

»   To enable better access to health care services by improving local infrastructure, offering mobile clinics and supporting remote health care providers.