Ardross volunteer in tune with ‘beautiful’ Malawians

orphanage teacher Edith Kasinja, Ardross resident Nola Formentin and Spanish volunteer Laura Nestares practice balancing buckets on their head at Monkey Bay, in Malawi.
Ardross volunteer in tune with ‘beautiful’ Malawians
orphanage teacher Edith Kasinja, Ardross resident Nola Formentin and Spanish volunteer Laura Nestares practice balancing buckets on their head at Monkey Bay, in Malawi.

ARDROSS resident Nola Formentin hopes to bring the joy of music to some of the world’s most impoverished people.

In December, the classically trained singer and former Australian Army trombonist will pack up her life in Perth and head to Malawi – one of the most undeveloped countries in southeast Africa – for three years.

Ms Formentin recently accepted the position of volunteer co-ordinator for the Malawi Volunteer Organisation (MVO).

Four months ago, she volunteered in Monkey Bay, in the southern region of Malawi.

The MVO chief executive was quick to realise her musical talents and public relations skills would be an asset to the not-for-profit organisation.

“I always knew I would go back. I fell in the love with the place; I just didn’t realise it was going to happen so soon,” she said.

“It’s going to be a lot different to my current life, which also includes working as a tour driver in the Swan Valley, but I’ve been doing the same thing for nine years and I think it’s time for a change.”

Ms Formentin will live in a basic volunteer house with no hot water in Monkey Bay. She will look after volunteers, help with the village orphanages and provide workshops to develop the English skills of local teachers.

Authorities in the region struggle to provide adequate education, health care, housing for orphans and sustainable community projects.

“We want to assist the local community to develop and initiate sustainable projects for the benefit of the villagers by giving them ways to become self-sufficient so they are able to generate a steady income.

“They ask for help, not for themselves, but for the future of their children, so they can be fed and educated and clothed.

“Their greatest wish is to see their children grow up to be strong and healthy, so they can leave the poverty behind.”

Ms Formentin’s ultimate dream is to put together a choir and music program.

By passing on her musical knowledge, she hopes to alleviate the hardships the Malawian people face.

“They are the most beautiful people; it will give them joy, but it will also bring them together and give them a focus.

“Music is in their blood and in their society they just need to learn the skills to play an instrument.

“I hope that by teaching them, they can go and busk and earn some extra money; because there is not a lot of it.”