Computer Donations to Malawi

For the past two years Williams has been able to donate 2-3 used laptops to schools or local governments in Malawi, Africa. Dean Stephen Sneed makes regular trips to Malawi and he hand carries them to make sure they get to the people who truly need them. As the OIT point person, I typically receive the thanks and gratitude of the recipients even though it is the College and others within OIT who are really providing the machines. Stephen has given the laptops to the Deans of two colleges where almost no one has a computer. One was given to a village for the children to use in their schoolwork.

Their notes are always touching as we realize how these contributions mean more to them than we could possibly have imagined. I ‘d like to share with you the letter we received from Dingiswago Chagomelana in the village of Ndirande Village, Malawi. Remember that in this letter, “Dinny” really means Williams College.

My Dearest Dinny Taylor (Ms.),
I hope you have never known the author of this letter before. My name is Dingiswago Chagomelana, fondly known as “Dingi.” I work for Malaŵi Posts Corporation at Limbe, Blantyne. The main aim for writing you is to send many, many heartfelt thanks for the very kind and useful donation of a computer for use by school children in my village. I live the city of Blantyne, the largest commercial and industrial hub of Malaŵi, in the biggest village of Malaŵi, called Ndirande. Ndirande is a very poor urban township village located to the northwest of Blantyre city about 5 kilometers away from the Blantyre City Centre. It is divided into many smaller sections of villages. It provides habitation to “indigenous” as well as “new comers” who hew living out of petty jobs, businesses, peasantry. We number around 500,000, ¾ of which are children. 2/3 of children attend school. People here live in dire poverty, many subsisting on 10 to 20 US dollars a month! A very small segment earn 50 US dollars a month! This implies that technological advancement is far from reach. Few people could hear about a computer but knew not how it could be operated.
Now, when my beloved brother, Dr. Stephen D. Sneed delivered the Dell Laptop package to our community through me and of course from you, I was dumbfounded and I do not remember to have thanked. It was on 19th January, 2008 morning hours in very bright sunshine. He honestly delivered everything intact including a manual and he showed me how to go about it. Often times, good number of children throng my small living room to see the marvel. I show them how to do it. Many children are going to benefit from the presence of, and proximity to, this wonder-performing machine. Currently, up to 25 children have laid down their hands on it. It is my hope that by the end of this year, at least 500 children will have benefitted from this Dinny Initiative and I hope numbers will turn into thousands, not only from the northeastern corner of Ndirande where I live, but also from other corners.

So, in a nutshell, you can see how beneficial this machine is going to be, the whole world of knowledge technological advancement and development at the doorstep of the world poor! Even though I know we cannot thank you enough, please accept on behalf of the community and on my own behalf, our sincere and heartfelt thanks for your kind gesture! I am also partly able to work from somewhere out of my office. You have improved our community’s poor lot. We can therefore see development coming our way in the pipeline. I am sending an email to you through the machine. LONG LIVE DINNY!!!

Yours truly grateful,
Dingiswago Chagomelana
On behalf of Ndirande Village.

Hand written letter from Dingiswago Chagomelana


Dean Steven Sneed handing computer to Dingiswago Chagomelana

Dean Sneed & Dingi

Enelious Overtone Kuntendere (village head man) shows children how to operate a laptop donated by Williams to Milonde Village, Malawi.

Enelious & Villagers

Jacqueline Chazema, the first woman Dean of Education in Malawi, attributes her current position to the computer given to her by Williams.


Emmanuel Muntali, Director of Computing Services, Chancellor College, University of Malawi, received his first personal computer from Williams College.


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