Training Volunteers to Help Children in Malawi

Amy Hewitt, MN UCEDD/LEND, travels to work with families and volunteers

November 4, 2014

Dr. Amy Hewitt from the Institute on Community Integration UCEDD and LEND at the University of Minnesota recently completed a visit to Africa where she participated in a collaborative training project with long-time colleague Mikala Mukongolwa of the Baulini Project and Dr. Jason Paltzer, Director of the Kingdom Workers Lutheran Health Alliance. The team made stops in Lusaka, Zambia, and Blantyre, Malawi, working with volunteers and families.

On this visit, Amy and others are teaching volunteers from Kingdom Workers how to assess the needs of and implement strategies to improve the lives of children and adults with disabilities in a number of southern villages in Malawi, where the need for education and training is great. Many children have Cerebral Palsy as a result of birth trauma, malaria, or menengitis, and basic interventions use accessible tools such as trees and rocks for physical therapy activities. Despite challenges that include combating starvation, just a little intervention each week by a home based education volunteer from Kingdom Workers has the potential to make a huge difference. Children will be able to sit up, walk, talk, feed themselves and move toward life in their community.

Amy serves as an active example of how the AUCD network works tirelessly to improve lives around the world one attitude and one child at a time.


Teaching a child to walk.


Families in Malawi.


Teaching physical therapy interventions.

photo: PT using trees

Physical therapy using trees and materials on hand.

photo: training

Discussions with volunteers and families.

photo: walking

Learning to walk!

video link: walking

(external link) Video of a child walking for the first time!

photo: team training certificates

Training participants show off their certificates.