His Excellency Edward Sawerengera, Malawi’s ambassador to the U.S. and Canada, spent his last visit before retiring to acknowledge the successes of a Norfolk school partnership.
Sawerengera met with staff from the city, Wayne State College, Northeast Community College, Orphan Grain Train and other local businesses to recognize the work of Norfolk Schools in Malawi during a meeting on Friday.
“Because of Norfolk Schools in Malawi, my daughters came to know (Norfolk) as wonderful people in America,” he said. “It’s not only about the school, but the way you help the students when they come here.”
Even though Sawerengera is retiring this year, he will continue to be an ambassador in Malawi for the Norfolk schools program. A new female ambassador to the U.S. and Canada will be taking his place.
In his farewell speech, he thanked Malawi native and Norfolkan Joe Mtika for founding the education program in 2013.
The school is based in the city of Blantyre, Malawi, which is located in southeastern Africa. It teaches American curriculum and has partnerships with both Wayne State and Northeast, sending a group of graduates every year to receive higher education. The program had 13 graduates in May.
Sawerengera said he hopes the school expands locations to other parts of the country, where some students attend only one year of secondary school before dropping out.
Blantyre became a sister city to Norfolk with the help of Mayor Josh Moenning in 2017. Moenning congratulated Sawerengera on his retirement at Friday’s meeting and said he looks forward to working with Malawi as students continue to come to Northeast Nebraska.
“Thank you to the ambassador for all of the help and support that you have shown to Dr. Mtika on his effort to establish Norfolk Schools in Malawi,” Moenning said. “I know it’s been a struggle in a lot of ways and a lot of blood, sweat and tears has gone into that effort to establish a school that is safe, secure and stable and is providing good education for a lot of kids. And providing a pipeline here to Norfolk.”