Malawi, Africa was recently recognized by the BBC as the poorest country in the world, and a lack of quality education is a primary issue in its struggle for economic development.  Ben Higgins believes a great cup of coffee and a bike ride might just be part of the solution to help change this dynamic in Malawi.

Higgins, the former star of The Bachelor, will be the main speaker at an upcoming event on April 16th sponsored by The Global Orphan Project and Mizzou for Malawi, a “students for students” organization at the University of Missouri.  He will talk about his latest endeavor, Generous Coffee, and share how an enhanced view of capitalism can help fight social injustices around the globe.  He sees education equity as one such challenge to confront in developing countries.

“All children around the world, especially in places like Malawi, should have the chance to go to high school and get the basic skills that will prepare them for life,” Higgins said.  “This shouldn’t just be the privilege of the rich or politically connected.  With our Generous programs, we want to partner with groups like Mizzou for Malawi to help bridge that gap of opportunity and make a difference.”

Mizzou for Malawi was founded in 2008 by three university students to help develop a primary school at the Pothawira Village outside Salima, Malawi.  It is an initiative of The Global Orphan Project based in Kansas City, MO. Since the opening of the Pothawira Academy in 2011, Mizzou for Malawi has continued to support the operation of the school through various fundraising projects each year.

According to Clare Conlisk, current co-chair of the Mizzou for Malawi Steering Committee, the “Benerous” event will help launch and support its newest campaign.  “A former Mizzou graduate has organized the Malawi 100, a charity bike ride across Malawi this summer to help establish a secondary school at the Pothawira Academy.  We have created Team Mizzou for Malawi as a group of “virtual riders” to help raise funds for the school project.  A special campaign called M4M 100 will be announced at the event.”  Conlisk and Mary Ann Landolt, current co-chairs for the organization, along with Ellen Schnelle, who will be a co-chair next year, will travel with the Malawi 100 team to Africa this summer.

Schnelle believes Higgins is the right person to help kick off the group’s newest initiative. “We are excited for Ben to share his message of social entrepreneurship at Mizzou.  It will hopefully challenge us as students to look beyond ourselves and develop a life style of generosity.  The M4M 100 will give us an immediate opportunity to apply that principle and support a cause that can be transformative for both students and Malawi.  Working together, we can help change a nation through education.”

In addition to Higgins, the April 16th event will also feature Mebble Maseko.  She is the daughter of Peter and Emma Maseko, the founders and directors of the Pothawira Village.  Ms. Maseko is currently enrolled in a master’s program in Kansas City and will talk about the general challenges surrounding education in Malawi.

The event will be held at Café Berlin, 220 N. 10th Street in Columbia.  There will be two identical sessions, one from 6:30 – 8:30 pm and one from 9:00 – 11:00 pm.  In addition to the speakers, the event will include a raffle for prizes such as a new Giant hybrid bicycles, Southwest Airlines gift cards, Amazon gift cards, Generous Coffee and other items.

Tickets are $15 for Mizzou students and $20 for the general public.  Each event ticket includes three raffle tickets.  Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.malawi100.com/benerous.  There are 200 advance student tickets and 50 advance general public tickets available for each session.  Each session is limited to 250 individuals.  Any remaining tickets will be available at the door on a first come, first serve basis.

Both of the event sessions will be live streamed at www.malawi100.com.

The doors will open 30 minutes prior to each session.  Proceeds from the evening, as well as the M4M 100 initiative that will be announced on the 16th, will support the Malawi 100 initiative through The Global Orphan Project.

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