Where it all began...
Hanna first went to Malawi as a volunteer in 2014 for a gap year. During this time, she taught at Bolera Palms Primary School in Mangochi as a Standard 5 teacher. Straight away, she knew that this was what she wanted to do with her life and so she cancelled her visa and ended up staying at the school for a total of 20 months!
During this time however, she witnessed extreme poverty and the every day struggles that are often taken for granted; she realised how much of an opportunity education is and how vital agriculture is for daily life.
This, combined with the incredible experiences she'd had there, confirmed to her that this was what she wanted to do with her life; and from then on it became her mission.
In 2016, Hanna returned to the UK and met her now-husband, Martyn. In 2019, they travelled to Malawi together and Martyn began to understand why Hanna loved the country so much. He saw the beauty of the country, the warmth of the people, and the potential for positive change. However, he also saw the other side of Malawi: the poverty, malnutrition, and lack of education that are so rampant.
In 2020, when COVID-19 hit, Hanna and Martyn had a lot of time to think about their future. Although both in secure jobs, neither of them were happy and both knew that their hearts belonged to Malawi. So, during lockdown, they decided to commit their time to planning a two year research period over there, while converting an old plumber's van into a camper van that would give them the flexibility to travel to various organisations.
After 7 months of sawing, sanding and painting, even through the thick winter snow, their makeshift home was finally ready to ship. With their van/home ready to go and their flights booked, they were ready to start their journey.
However, Covid-19 had other plans. A mere 11 days before they were due to fly, Malawi closed its borders to all foreigners. Somehow, Martyn managed to get in touch with a senior member of government and got special permission to enter the country to do their charitable activities. What a relief!
In July 2021, Hanna and Martyn finally arrived in Malawi to begin their journey. They collected their van in Mchinji and travelled down the country, visiting a total of 22 organisations which encompassed:
4 Technical Skills Colleges
9 primary schools
10 Education wrap-around services
After visiting these various organisations, they found that the areas that need most support are Education (mainly curriculum and teaching style) and Nutrition and Land Use.
Hence, The Imago Foundation was born...
Imago - The final stage of a butterfly
An idealised mental image of the self
Process of growth and development
The butterfly effect: Small changes, profound outcomes.
After finding the three perfect trustees - Monica, Samuel and Jones - and after many, many trips to Blantyre, the charity was finally registered with the Registrar General in December 2022.