This is the working foundation in Malawi. Here the kindergarten is run and other activities, such as the project at Ngara Primary School, are coordinated. All under the inspiring leadership of André Oudhuis.
André entered the IT field after earning his Bachelor’s degree in business administration and has a broad knowledge of automation and the Internet. He has vast experience in the world of entertainment, promotional gifts and hospitality, has been an entrepreneur and has many years of management experience in the banking and insurance industry. André converses easily and freely, puts everyone at ease and has a healthy dose of humor. A strong, sometimes somewhat impatient, inventive personality and a decisive doer who loves discovering new things.
Why did André commit himself to FloJa Malawi? André zich gaan inzetten voor FloJa Malawi?
In André’s own words:
"The people who know me know that I had a very comfortable life in the Netherlands. A good job, a nice house, a large group of precious people around me. There was always a nice outing or interesting hobby to fill my days with. Fascinated by other cultures and what motivates people, I spent many holidays discovering new countries and marveling at people and nature."
"And still something continued to gnaw at me deep inside. The need to make a more meaningful contribution to a world that, in my view, sometimes seems so harsh and unjust; why are we lucky enough to be born in the safety and comfort of the Netherlands and why does someone else end up in a country with extreme poverty or war?
'The burning fire' to do development work was mainly lit by Paulien, Andrés former partner. And as it can happens, life took a different direction. And so one day we decided we no longer wanted to just watch idly from the couch and only donate money to charity. We wanted to take action ourselves!"
This strong urge to contribute to a more beautiful world resulted in a trip to Haiti in October 2010, which was then hit by a major earthquake. During a few impressive months they experienced the fulfillment in putting their hearts, knowledge and experience to use in 'unreal' circumstances. When FloJa Malawi came into their way in mid-2015, the pieces of the puzzle fell into place.
"This was the perfect opportunity to fulfill our dream. The decision came naturally: We radically changed our lives and left for Malawi to help a group of about ninety children."
André and Paulien have been living in Malawi since March 2016. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, has a friendly population and beautiful nature, but also many complicated problems. They focus on where André believes development should begin: education, nutrition and good health for children.
There are people who see this as ‘a drop in the ocean'.
"I see FloJa as a beginning. I think it is important to help children in Malawi so that they can in turn work to develop their own country and reduce poverty. I use my skills with passion and realism. I connect with the people who live and work here, observe what has to be done, listen to their needs and search with the locals for solutions. I believe in community empowerment, with a critical eye for 'ownership' and 'sustainability'."
Since 2019 André runs the project alone, with the help of volunteers. Paulien is back in the Netherlands and works as a maternity nurse.