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Mendoza students team up with South Bend non-profit Malawi Matters

| Tuesday, April 27, 2021

For their project management class, three students in the Mendoza College of Business have teamed up with Malawi Matters, a local South Bend organization, to create the marketing and distribution plan for the nonprofit’s newest book release and fundraising efforts. 

Malawi Matters is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to develop and facilitate HIV and AIDS education with the people of Malawi, Africa. Recently, the president of Malawi Matters, Phyllis Vos Wezeman and her daughter, Stephanie, released their newest book titled “Mama of the Nation. The book tells the story of Cecilia Kadzamira, or Mama Cecilia,  and her accomplishments as the former first lady of Malawi. 

The cover and spine of Mama of the Nation.Courtesy of David Petrison
Mama of the Nation is the story of “Mama” Cecilia Kadzamira and her role in building the country of Malawi.

Mama of the Nation is using a buy one give one format,” junior Megan O’Gorman, a student working on the project, said. “For each book purchased, one will be sent to a Malawian education center. For those who aren’t interested in purchasing books, ‘Mama of the Nation‘ is also accepting donations towards sending books to Malawi.”

In giving copies of the book to schools in Malawi, “Mama of the Nation“ serves to continue Mama Cecilia’s legacy as a positive role model. Through the story of a strong, African woman, the book empowers children and adults who read this story to realize their value and worth. 

O’Gorman works alongside fellow Mendoza students, juniors David Petrison and Ruby Le, in marketing and distributing the book. The team is the sixth group of students in Mendoza that has partnered with Malawi Matters.

Wezeman said the type of work that the students do for the organization varies from year to year.

“Each term we pick a topic — one with which we are grappling — and together work towards coming up with solutions to problems and offering new approaches,” Wezeman said in an email. “This semester with David, Megan and Ruby, we have been preparing for the launch of ‘Mama of the Nation.‘”

So far, their efforts have been doing a great job in garnering support for Malawi Matters’ newest book, Petrison said. 

“We just finished our Kickstarter campaign and raised about $6,800 in sales, which exceeded our initial goal of $6,000,” Petrison said.

Petrison also said they are planning a book showcase Friday in the Carey Auditorium with Wezeman and Mama Cecilia’s niece. All Notre Dame students interested in learning more about “Mama of the Nation“ and Malawi Matters are invited to attend, he said.

Projects, such as the Malawi Matters partnership, teach students how they can use their knowledge in business to make an impact.

“Mendoza students work to grow the good in business,” O’Gorman said. “It is important for business students to see that their work can have an impact on underserved populations, not solely drive the bottom [profit] line.”

Petrison agreed on the importance of using business skills to give back, especially to organizations in the South Bend community. 

“It’s really cool being able to work with a South Bend organization,” he said. “There’s a lot we can do to help out local communities and charities right outside of our Notre Dame bubble.”

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