LoudInk: Pens as Microphones

Madalo and Lekodi are the type of people who authors write about. They are the characters who are closer than siblings, loyal, who finish each other’s sentences and make the rest of us question our friendships. Watching them talk about their Students with Dreams experience is just, simply put, fun! Their passion is palpable, their journey has been a learning process and their ‘no regret’ attitude should be passed around to anyone thinking of becoming a future Dreamer. Together they are the leaders and founders of LoudInk.

LoudInk is a literature based project that aims at creating a platform for emerging writers. It does so mainly by means of an online blog and social media pages that allow writers to post and interact with each other. The programme was aimed at both the Chancellor College students, and secondary school students around Zomba. LoudInk set up literary workshops and collected students’ written stories that were themed around social problems. These problems were either ones that the students were struggling with themselves, had witnessed or were just common in their communities.

The mission of this project was, “To provide young writers with a platform to engage in social issues through writing of short stories” said Lekodi. He went on to add that mentorship, career guidance and training in literature at the schools was a very crucial step to achieve their goals with this project. “ We frequently went to secondary schools to conduct workshops with the students on writing. We also had mentorship trainings in July and August”. Mentorship is very important to LoudInk as well as AGHCA. It is a critical component of our SWD program and many Dreamers see this as an important component within their projects as well.

Over the course of their Students With Dreams project, Madalo and Likodi worked with over 50 secondary school and college students. Their blog showcasing writing is live, and they are planning to to create an anthology of writing collected from the secondary students themselves.

Lekodi and Mada both have learnt a lot out of this project and how it has directed their plans for the future. Madalo has had and will continue to have a busy year ahead. She was recently selected as one of the recipients for the prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award. This is a youth programme that runs all across the commonwealth nations to celebrate, train and equip future leaders. Madalo was also celebrated as 1 of 20 International winners with Global Dialogues. Global Dialogues combines the creative genius of young people and the power of social change media to cultivate empathy, compassion and unity in diversity. Madalo attributes some of her success to the SWD programme that she has just completed with AGHCA, she says, “Students with Dreams has been an immeasurable help to the success of LoudInk. Not only were we provided with seed grant money but we were also provided with training and a community of people who believed in the project, therefore helping us get it off the ground”

Lekodi then shared with how he envisions his future, “I’ve always known that I wanted a job that involved me helping people, but the Students With Dreams program has opened my eyes to look to avenues that involve empowering the community to help itself. We live in a country where you end up working in a job that pays best regardless at times of what you studied in school. I want to work in a job that allows me to help people to empower the community to change itself. For the future – I also want to try to expand my writing skills and continue to use my creative gifts to tell stories that reach the hearts of people and that speak to them in a way that moves them to look at the world the way I do.”

LoudInk believes that empowerment can be done through multiple avenues, including the pen. The pen catalogues people’s stories, thoughts and expressions and that is important for any nation. For Malawi, a country with not the highest literacy rates in the world, LoudInk have done their part, which would not have been possible had generous donors and funders not have stepped in. Today because of those donations, students have been motivated and inspired by the time, effort and zeal of LoudInk.