on the horizon
ReachOut’s origin lies in the financial support that was given by Teun and Nel Wolters to two secondary school students in Malawi; later on, the foundation took over and broadened its support base. In the period 2016-2020, the sustaining donors of the foundation were Jaap and Gerda Smit. Jaap Smit, ReachOut’s first chairman, passed away in 2019.
The foundation’s main justification to provide support is a lack of sufficient family income resulting in insufficient means to pay for school fees and related expenses. Part of the problem stems from the absence of one or two parents and lack of sufficient financial support from the extended family. In many cases, outright poverty is the root cause of this problem.
The foundation’s support focuses on the costs of schooling, which include school fees, boarding fees and the cost of travel from home to school and vice versa. The support runs from secondary school up to and inclusive of a professional or academic education after secondary school, which after completion allows the supported student to earn a living. Within this context, it is important that in the country or region where the students live, there is an adequate administrative structure which makes it possible to select needy candidates for support, to communicate and to transfer the funds.
ReachOut is currently active in Malawi. The activities there are supervised by the European Baptist Mission (EBM International) while the selection and monitoring of students take place in close cooperation with a steering committee chaired by Rev. Fletcher Kaiya, the local representative of the European Baptist Mission (EBM International) in Malawi. Mr. Benson Makwasa is the field administrator; he takes care of the daily running of the programme; he is also a member of the steering committee.
It is possible that in the future similar programmes will be developed in other countries in Southern Africa by means of collaboration with other organisations.