By Samuel Malasa Banda
More than his first job, working as a police officer in Malawi was the birth of a vision which would manifest eight years later in Danneck’s life.
Danneck Falinya, Cornerstone’s executive Director graduated from the Malawi Police Training School in 2002 and was posted to work in the law enforcement agency in Salima, a lakeshore district in Malawi.
While working, Danneck noticed that most of the offenders brought into police were youths aged between 14 and 24. For him, this was a sign of moral decadence in his community and someone needed to stand up and take an action.
After working for five years, he quit his job in the Malawi Government and enrolled for a Bachelor of Arts at African Bible College, a response to a call into ministry.
Four years later, Danneck graduated from African Bible College in 2010 and together with three friends, Enettie Malangano, Leonard Chanza and Alinane Asefa there were selected for the prestigious Urban Promise International (UPI) Leadership training and they travelled to New Jersey, United States of America.
While there, inspired by the events he witnessed while working as a police officer in Salima, Danneck teamed up with his two friends, Leonard and Enettie and proposed to the UPI board that they had a dream to establish a UPI satellite in Salima, Malawi.
That was the conception of Cornerstone Ministries Malawi, with an aim to transform and empower children and youth with the knowledge and skills for enhancement of academic excellence, life skills, spiritual growth and leadership development.
The ministry would ensure that their mission is achieved in order to enhance academic achievements of children and youth, provide job skills and leadership training to secondary school students and secondary school leavers in preparation for job acquisition.
Additionally, the organization also aimed to teach the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ to children, youth and the surrounding community, provide a safe and controlled environment where young people can discuss, learn and carefully handle issues that affect them and to help in curbing the effects and impact of HIV/AIDS, an epidemic racking havoc in many African countries
In 2011, the trio returned home and immediately settled in Salima, a district that was to be the home of Cornerstone Ministries Malawi.
January 2013, Cornerstone opened doors of its After-school program (ASP), an afternoon primary school tutoring haven, modeled after UPI’s structure.
Since then, Cornerstone Ministries Malawi has grown from an After-school program to an organization that now has its own secondary school, a farm animal rearing project and runs youths and girl’s empowerment programs.
For Danneck, Cornerstone Ministries Malawi is a manifestation of God’s faithfulness and providence unto those who trust Him.
Currently, the organization even helps pay tuition fees to students in secondary schools and universities. From three staff members and three volunteers in 2013, Cornerstone has a combined staff of 32 including camp leaders who are mentored in the youth empowerment program.
According to Danneck, “our existence in Salima is to help build a good foundation for a better Malawi. Because we realized that if the foundation be broken, there is no hope for the future” he says.
As 1 Peter 2:6 from which the name Cornerstone was derived says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” Salima has hope in Cornerstone Ministries Malawi.