A Lesson in Dreaming at Malawi College of Health Sciences

By Lekodi Magombo, Programmes Officer

This year, to get students excited about applying for Students with Dreams, we’ve launched interactive brainstorming sessions called Dream Machines. After experimenting with our first one at Domasi College of Education, we were off to Malawi College of Health Sciences.

We were midway through an introduction of the AGHCA team, when the lights died. We quickly pulled out our phones and one of the students was even kind enough to run to her dorm and bring back a torch. We carried on with an icebreaker, a game called Columbian Hypnosis, in which people paired up and used their hands to give random directions to their partner, who had to decipher what to do. It was a lot of fun and got everyone ready for the first activity - Image Theatre.

Participants divided up into groups of six to eight. They started by using their body to pose as an image that depicted their passion or a talent that they had. Next each group was asked to think about a pressing social issue and, as a group, use their bodies to depict it. As each group took centre stage, the other groups tried to guess the issue. Then participants were asked to alter the image slightly in order to show how the problem could be solved. Some very powerful imagery and insightful ideas emerged.

When the lights came back on unexpectedly, it was time to move on to the next activity. Participants were divided at random into five groups and given an oddly shaped piece of paper and a few markers. On the paper, each group wrote down a social challenge they see around them and two ideas on how to tackle it. Then the five groups connected all the individual pieces of paper and realized that they formed the shape of Malawi. Next, each group as given another piece of paper and told to write three methods of realizing proposed solutions. After circulating all the solutions, people voted on those they thought were promising and laid the proposed methods on top of the map. Everyone could see that, although there are problems in Malawi and people have ideas for solutions and methods, it’s only in connecting the three and opening up to other people’s suggestions that sparks innovation and creativity.

We wrapped up by sharing more information about Students with Dreams, including instructions on how to apply and what we’re looking for, followed by a Q&A. With nearly 30 people participating, the Dream Machine was filled with fun, laughter and learning. We look forward to seeing participants’ positivity and creativity shine in their applications.