Malawi Matters

Author: Gene Stowe

Liz Rosencrantz, assistant registrar and business manager in the Office of the Registrar, will spend three weeks in Africa this summer with Malawi Matters, a South Bend-based initiative to provide HIV/AIDS education in the country that has some 650,000 AIDS orphans.

LIz Rosenkrantz, assistant registrar, Malawi volunteer

Malawi Matters grew out of connections at First Presbyterian Church in South Bend, the largest concentration of Malawians in the denomination and part of a community of more than 1,500 in the area. Rosencrantz has taught elementary students at the church for more than 20 years, and Malawi Matters founder Phyllis Wezeman, who had been the church’s director of Christian education, recruited her to be an officer of the board for the charity.

Wezeman, once an adjunct Notre Dame faculty member in the Theology Department, created the book “Through the Heart: Creative Methods of HIV and AIDS Education” as part of the training tools. Malawi Matters promotes a self-sustaining "train the trainer” education program that empowers Malawians to independently teach others about HIV and AIDS.

Rosencrantz, who manages the commencement and registrar websites, is also in charge of malawimatters.org and co-administrator of the group’s Facebook page. Wezeman convinced her that her teaching experience, mostly hands-on activities and storytelling, was a perfect fit for the HIV/AIDS education.

Rosencrantz will be among 10 people on a training team that will spend up to three weeks in Malawi. The all-volunteer agency will train approximately 672 key leaders from 56 churches in six of the denomination’s Presbyteries. The key leaders will be equipped with training and supplies to educate thousands more of their members.

Other members and associates of First Presbyterian at Notre Dame who participate in the Malawi project include Mendoza College of Business academic adviser Doug Hemphill; philosophy professor Robert Audi; Reilly Center for Science, Technology, and Values Director Don Howard; professor emeritus Don Sporleder of the School of Architecture; and Kevin Dreyer, associate professor of Film, Television, and Theatre, whose wife, Indi Dieckgrafe-Dreyer of Saint Mary’s College, accompanied Wezeman on her first trip to Malawi.

The not-for-profit is raising $98,435 for this year’s trip to cover costs for Malawian students (not including volunteer expenses of $3,500 each). For more information or to support the organization’s cause, visit malawimatters.org.