University of Livingstonia Foundation News

Wednesday February 3, 2021

Greetings from the University of Livingstonia Foundation!  UNILIA is a small but growing institution of higher education located in northern Malawi.  Its roots go back to 1875 when Dr. Robert Laws, a missionary, physician and educator was sent to Malawi by the Presbyterian Church in Scotland to establish the Livingstonia Institution in honor of the Dr. David Livingstone. The purpose of the Livingstonia Institution was to help Malawians learn skills needed to create a better life for themselves in various ways, but primarily through education.  By 1895 the diverse programs offered also included the training of teachers and ministers.  Unfortunately, after Dr. Laws retired in 1927, many of the programs he established were allowed to dissolve.

It was not until 2003 that a group of enlightened Malawians, American volunteers and the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia collaborated to revive Dr. Law’s higher education component as the University of Livingstonia.  At that time only two universities and few Bible colleges were providing higher education opportunities to a population of 12 million in Malawi. UNILIA opened its doors with about 200 students who attended classes that met in refurbished facilities previously used for Dr. Law’s programs. From the beginning the intention was to provide excellence in its curriculum and administration, and it was obvious that UNILIA could not achieve these important goals without adequate resources.  Word was quickly sent out  to friends throughout Malawi  and  other countries that donations of items or funds were urgently needed.  Most of all, funds were needed for scholarships for the many qualified students who could not afford even the modest fees.  The response from  individuals, churches, Rotary Clubs and other organizations was positive and inspiriting. The university was able to admit more students and to expand its academic offerings.  In 2020 almost 2,000 students attended classes offered in three different campuses preparing for careers in seven  fields, including education, applied sciences, theology, social sciences, business, agriculture and communication.  The student population includes 54% male and 46% female. Please see the University’s website for additional information about the school.

As early as 2005, a Foundation  to solicit and manage contributions for UNILIA was established in the United States.   Currently, the University of Livingstonia Foundation is chartered in the state of Maryland as a 401(c)(3), thus all donations are tax exempt.  Foundation Board members include Malawians and non -Malawians – all enthusiastic “friends of Malawi.”    We invite you to make a donation via our website, or by check, payable to the University of Livingstonia Foundation, P.O. Box 9276, Silver Spring, Maryland 20916. Donations are needed for the following categories:

  1. Student scholarships for tuition, room, and/or board – many students at the University are unable to pay the current tuition of $1,207 per semester including room and board. They need financial assistance. The Foundation provided assistance to 29 students in 2020, but would like to grow its assistance to help additional students enroll.
  2. New buildings – as the University continues to grow, there is need for new and renovated buildings such as a new administration building, new dormitories, as well as refurbishing of libraries and cafeterias.
  3. Equipment – The University needs new and replacement computers, laboratory equipment, and vehicles.
  4. There is always a need for furnishings for students.  For example, $70 would provide a comfortable student bed.  There is a need for tables and chairs for the libraries and computer labs.

Donations are welcomed in all amounts from $50 to >$1,000. Will you help us provide support for additional students and improve the facilities and amenities for the employees and students? Feel free to identify special areas to which you like to contribute.

As new and longtime friends of Malawi, you may also want to consider joining our board, helping with fundraising, volunteering to teach or contribute other relevant expertise.  If interested,  please contact the president of the Foundation board, Donna Chirwa, at [email protected]. And finally, when you are next in Malawi, we invite you to visit UNILIA!

Graduation is always a happy time.  The below images show three graduates who received scholarships through the UNILIA Foundation:

Darliness – Food Science

Danson – Education

Florence – Education

The last image is the Women’s Dormitory Funded by the UNILIA Foundation

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