The First Lady comes to UrbanPromise!

Sep. 21, 2022

It was an unusual text message. The sender requested that the First Lady of Malawi, Her Excellency Madame Monica Chakwera, visit UrbanPromise in Camden.

Not every day do we get requests from heads of state to visit our campus—especially from the sub-Saharan country of Malawi.

A flurry of correspondence ensued, the visit was confirmed. After her meetings at the 77th high level session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, her motorcade would make the trek down the New Jersey turnpike.

For those of you who may not know, UrbanPromise has a relationship with Malawi that has lasted for 15 years. The relatively small country of 17 million people is often cited as one of the poorest countries in the world—with 51% of the population under the age of 18.

Since 2006, UrbanPromise has been recruiting young Malawian leaders to train at UrbanPromise Camden as “Fellows.” These leaders learn the unique UrbanPromise model of youth development, then return to their country to start schools, orphanages, after school programs, summer camps, businesses and leadership development programs of their own. UrbanPromise has inspired the creation of 12 independent, locally-led, Malawian non-profit organizations—reaching thousands of youth each day.

The First Lady learned of our connection to her country through a former Fellow and wanted to experience UrbanPromise firsthand.

So on Monday, Her Excellency arrived with her 15-member entourage. She toured the campus, spoke to our students, shared lunch with our Fellows—and left inspired.

Our Malawian Fellows shared with the First Lady their vision for change and their plans to return home to Malawi to start their own non-profits that will change the lives of youth in their country.

“I’m so amazed at the effectiveness of this work,” she shared. “I’ve seen a lot of programs, but this is really making a difference.” 

UrbanPromise is truly a place of surprises. UrbanPromise is developing leaders both locally and internationally. At UrbanPromise Camden, 34 years of faithful service continues to inspire a world-wide movement impacting our world’s most vulnerable children. What a gift to be part of something so special.