DONT WRITE ME OFF Teaser from Matthew Forrey on Vimeo.

In the summer of 2007, a group of friends from California took a venture trip to Malawi, Africa.  The trip was masterminded by a Californian soccer player, Noel Musicha, who was born and raised in the privileged parts of the country [Malawi].  “DON’T WRITE ME OFF” is the Channel O style documentation of Noel’s story colliding with the story of a young aspiring soccer player [Humphrey Mahowa] who  grew up in a less-privileged part of the country.  The story unfolds in the township of Chinsapo, the outskirts of the capital, Lilongwe, and presents a unique perspective of Africa through the eyes of an African.

“DON’T WRITE ME OFF,” Privilege and Poverty comes FACE to FACE

BOOK A SCREENING:  Email melissa@chisomoidea.com



Program Description:

The primal essence of our mentoring philosophy is simple–  LIFE ON LIFE.  Yes, we are still a little old fashioned in that way.  We believe that if you can put older, experienced, and committed athletes in the same setting with younger, aspiring, and committed athletes, amazing things can happen.  At the moment, our mentoring program is masterminded by students from The African Bible College who go to our Chinsapo Academy every week to promote the welfare of the kids in our program.

Our 2011-2012 Mentors
Lovemore Chisale
Mphatso Sandram
Oscar Zebron
Brian M’buka
Fletcher Chisalipo
Jimmy Phiri
Tionge Matengula
Charles Kadwa
Sandram Phiri
Richard Maguare
Innocent Ng’oma
Aaron Chiwambo Banda
Meke Mwase



We use this page to share cool stories and honor the creativity that makes the CHISOMO MOVEMENT work…

Our friends from Castro Valley First Baptist Church have always been great to us.  This summer they came to Malawi to hang out with us again.  We appreciate the sacrifices they make to stand alongside the poor in our country.  We give THUMBS WAY UP to them.

We also look to inspire young people to make a difference around the globe.  Case in point:  Joyce McRae organized her High School friends and other friends to do a car wash for kids in Malawi.  One seemingly simple but creative event raised over $430.  The fundraiser was for Chisomo’s 60/60 CAMPAIGN.  See 3 minute campaign video:  http://vimeo.com/40731819 Find out more on www.chisomoidea.com Thumbs Waaaaay Up, Joyce.  Thumbs up Kiana Lee.  Thumbs up Students From the Break at Keany High.  Thumbs up parents and other adults who helped.


Callie Megargle and Lauren White took initiative to do a YARD SALE for our 60/60 CAMPAIGN.  Their act couldn’t have reflected the essence of Chisomo Idea more.  Chisomo is the power of dreams in the hands of the people.  It is us being witnesses of  the execution of those dreams.  Chisomo is a people so liberated they don’t feel the need to over-think anything. …The YARD SALE raised $550 which in effect is buying 550 bricks, a lot of bricks.  We are very inspired by Callie and Lauren’s creative and catalytic spirit. …Here is a 3 minute campaign video to help you understand what’s going on:  http://vimeo.com/40731819 Remember, “Most good things have been said far too many times and just need to be lived.” — Shane Claiborne. Thumbs Way Up, friends!

…And then there is Marissa DeHerrera and Johnny Volk.  They work, they volunteer in youth ministry, and they are recently engaged so they can’t possibly have a ton of time.  So where did they get the time to organize one of the best soccer equipment drives in our history?  We don’t know.  All we know is that they have made a case for generosity that will forever leave a mark in our lives. Thumbs Waaayyyyy Up, Friends!

We are very grateful to Razzio Ruff Riders in Salt Lake City, Utah,  for making such a massive contribution to our work in Malawi.  The team, under the leadership of Jeremiah Bailey, created a drive that contributed over 40 pairs of soccer boots for our boys and girls in Malawi.  If you are in Salt Lake City and you were wondering what club your kids should be playing for, now you know. Thumbs Way Up, RAZZIO RUFF RIDERS

When someone broke into our house a few days ago, the cop investigating the case said, “obviously if the person took a few pairs of shoes from this house, you definitely wouldn’t have noticed.”  Initially I [Noel] was shocked by the comment because I thought the dude was just taking a cheap shot at my collection of shoes.  I do have quite a few colorful shoes and I often take some stick from my buddies especially for their obscure colors…This is me admitting that I need some help. To my relief, however, the cop was not talking about my shoes.  He was talking about the 35 pairs of soccer boots that our neighbor, Pam, collected during her Utah Christmas vacation for our soccer academy in Malawi…I think a case can be made that the greatest gift you can give to an African kid outside of things life clean water, of course, is a pair of soccer shoes.  In fact, growing up, I would have chosen a pair of soccer shoes ahead of clean water at any day which is why I am so grateful for my neighbor. Pam, THANK YOU SO MUCH, for partnering with us to do what to a Malawian kid is UNTHINKABLE.  You will never know what this means to us and to our friends in Malawi. TWO THUMBS WAY UP!!

[Mrs Lipita the owner of the school pictured receiving a gift from her son, Goodwin.]


Since the beginning of The Chisomo Idea, a little over 4 years ago, we have been blown away by how well everyday people have stepped up to make an impact in the lives of others.  We have literally seen people of all ages, from 8 year olds making and selling pancakes for the cause to 90 year olds using their ordinary gifts to make a difference.  The latest in this line of ordinary difference makers is the Lipita family in Malawi.  The Lipitas own Glyn Jones Secondary School close to Chinsapo, Malawi, and when they heard about our scholar-athlete program, they stepped in to do something extraordinary.  They pledged and are now following through with their pledge to give full scholarships to 6 of our athletes.  If you think about how much of a burden that lessens on a typically large Malawian family, you will understand the extent the of this contribution…between now and when you figure out the math, know that the contribution is MASSIVE. THUMBS UP to the Lipitas and THUMBS WAY UP to Falles Lipita [see home page feature picture on the right], a long time fan of ours, for making the connection. Falles, we couldn’t have done this without you.


Soccer uniforms are very hard to come by in Africa.  This is why we are very grateful to our friends at FREE FLOW SOCCER for donating a bunch to us.    When the San Diego club was switching names from San Diego Spirit, they decided to give 7 of their spirit kits to our girls and boys teams in Malawi. …Thank you Jason Aldous for facilitating this on our behalf and thank you FREE FLOW SOCCER for letting us share in your generosity. By the way, if you or your son or daughter is considering joining a club in San Diego, we would HIGHLY RECOMMEND Free Flow not just because of their donation but certainly because we believe in their philosophy.  Find out more about them on www.freeflowsoccer.com Thumbs Waaaaaaaaay Up, friends!!

The reason why many of us are so discontent may sometimes simply come down to the fact that we are not WOWED enough.  In the month of October, we invited a group of people [our Facebook fans] to a challenge.  The challenge was for them to take $100 from us at the beginning of the month and DO SOMETHING CREATIVE  with it.  Our hope was that at the end of the month we would get back the $100 and may be a little bit more.  We wanted to use the extra money for our scholar athlete program which helps some of our kids in Malawi attend school… The most creative story of the month came from our friend, KRIS HANSON.  Kris is a High School student in San Diego, CA. Here is a Message From Kris: +I took the $100 and chose to use it to help me buy a new lens (Canon 28mm F/1.).  I obviously love doing photography and I also film weddings and the services at Flood [a Church in San Diego that most of our team members attend]  so I needed a nice lens. It’s the first lens I’ve owned that is over $150… +My friend’s mom has seen some of my photos. she wanted some pictures of her daughter so she asked me to do a shoot. I decided to give whatever money I made from the shoot to The Chisomo Idea. +We did the photo shoot on a Saturday (10.29.11) at Sunset Cliffs in Point Loma for about 2 hours.  I took about 400 shots. +The following day, i gave you the money. What I love about it is how everyone won. Your $100 covered about 20% of the cost of the lens. My friend got new photos. You doubled your money. Through his quick and incredible imagination, Kris was able to achieve a triple bottom line– BUY A CAMERA LENS FOR HIS BUSINESS, HELP HIS FRIENDS MOM, AND HELP A GROUP OF KIDS IN MALAWI- AFRICA- ATTEND SCHOOL Some of you may need to help Kris further by doing shoots with him.  If so, contact us or email:  krishansonlovesyou@gmail.com.  Check out his sample pictures here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/krishanson/6299905171/in/photostream TWO THUMBS WAAAAAAAAAY UP, KRIS!

This month’s THUMBS UP goes to our friend, Wil Dyer.  Wil visited Malawi last summer and during his visit he met one of our outstanding young leaders on the ground, COSMAS PHIRI.  Cosmas has recently graduated from the African Bible College in Malawi but he already directs one of our most complex projects, the Chinsapo Grassroots Soccer and Life Economics Academy.  When Wil heard of our desire to bring Cosmas to the US for a few weeks to attend a Christian Community Development Association Conference in Indiana, he did something that only crazy people get to do. He auctioned off his birthday…well…not like that, but he asked his friends to not give him the presents they would probably give him and instead make a contribution towards Cosmas’ trip [We bet some of those people weren’t going to give them anything anyways…it’s called IMAGINATION].  Thanks to Wil, Cosmas has entered a conversation about community change that people like John Perkins [Civil Rights Leader] and Shane Claiborne are a part of… Thumbs WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYY UP, WILLIAM…

One of the groups that have made a huge difference for us lately has been the San Diego Sea Lions soccer club.  The San Diego based semi-pro team orchestrated the most successful soccer equipment drives in the history of our movement.  If you are ever in San Diego, make sure to stop by one of their games… Thumbs WAY UP San Diego Sea Lions!

When Vision Turns 10:  The Story of Sebastian Mathews

We know.  That is a pretty weird title for this story but wait for it. It may make some sense in the end. Every time we set a big goal, we realize as soon as we communicate it publicly that we have made a HUGE mistake. Recently, we set a goal of raising $15,000 in one month to match a conditional grant given to us by an organization in Holland.  We either had to raise the match or risk losing the grant altogether.  $15,000 in a month may be small to most organizations but it is pretty big to us.  Not only are we a pretty young movement, we all also work 9 to 5 jobs [that is part of our philosophy] so it is not easy to pull off something like that.  After all, we have to rely on friends on Facebook and other social media to get such things done.  Facebook friends are NOT ALWAYS real friends.  This is where you laugh. OK, let me adjust from the organizational language and be me, Noel Musicha, for a moment. As is expected from most organizational founders, our team looks  to me cast clear and compelling vision that will move people enough to do something.  Over time, that has become second nature to me.  Sometimes I cast vision that is compelling and sometimes it all falls flat.  In fact, most times it falls flat…who am I kidding? But every once in a while, glimpses of my vision get traction.  When that happens,  it is typically because there was another dreamer whose dreams fiercely beckoned my own. …In this particular campaign, that dreamer was 10 year old Sebastian Mathews.  Sebastian set up a fundraising run in his neighborhood and raised $800 for an organization serving children in need.  When he heard our story, he responded without hesitation that he wants to help.  It is amazing to see that a little kid his age already desires to be a catalyst for change.  I personally sent an encouragement video message to Sebastian because I believe that if the world is going to change, it is going to be because of people like him.  People that grow up refusing to dream dreams that DON’T INVOLVE THE POOR. Sebastian’s story inspired me to do a little bit more each night until our team managed to raise not just the $15,000 that we needed but went above and beyond and raised over $18,000.  There are so many names that helped pull this off. You will hear about many of them soon.  It was victory at the highest order– a team victory. But to me personally when I needed inspiration, it came from the most unlikely source– unfamiliar, catalytic, and only 10. TWO THUMBS WAY UP SEBASTIAN!!! Pretty soon the world is going to discover the type of a leader that you are and I am so proud to get to know you now [Even though we are yet to meet]. Noel For The Chisomo Idea Team

Lady Day

Lady Day

Fighting With Irons

We would like to give a Chisomo THUMBS UP to two very talented bands from San Diego, LADY DAY and FIGHTING WITH IRONS, for connecting people to the Chisomo Idea story through a very fun music exhibition. You can connect with both bands via their pages on FACEBOOK. THUMBS WAAAAAAAAAAAY UP Friends!

KEARNY HIGH STUDENTS [the break club]

We are grateful for Kearny High School’s THE BREAK club for putting together a fundraiser to help send a Malawian student to school for 4 years.  The fundraiser was part of PROJECT 25, a city wide initiative that challenged students to use $100 to do something extraordinary for others.  The BREAK students raised funds by FASTING from their weekly club lunch and selling candy in a campaign they called CANDY FOR CHANGE. The initiative won THIRD PLACE out of 50 schools at the red carpet DO SOMETHING CAMPUS AWARDS ceremony held at the Rock Church on June 1, 2011. The BREAK is part of FLOOD YOUTH GROUP [www.diveintoflood.com] and is held every Wednesday during lunch in the Kearny High School Little Theater. THUMBS WAAAAAAAAAYYYYY UP BREAK KIDS!

Mia McKee  [San Diego State University]

Last month we took a risk and shared a SAD story.  We shared the story of Beatrice.  Beatrice is a girl from Thyolo in Southern Malawi who gets kicked out of school often because of lack of school fees.  We know that there is a lot going on in people’s lives so we try to build on themes of hope rather than narratives of despair that may come off manipulative to people.  After all, there is always something inspiring in every story we encounter. Either way, when we shared all of that, we had a lot of people talk about how difficult that must be for that girl.  Don’t get us wrong, we love to hear how people feel about whatever we share which is why we were surprised by Mia’s reaction. Instead of talking to us about how “MOVING” everything came through to her, Mia just gave.  She simply met the need and in so doing made us believe that our dream of starting a scholarship fund for Beatrice and a few of her friends may actually be possible. Mia’s story of generosity is the type of case that gets us out of bed every morning and make us believe in the power that lie within people…Behind every inspiring thing we have ever been able to do, is a story like Mia’s.  A story of people that continue to give more than they can afford.  A story of individuals that chose to “live for more for our brothers and sisters that need more to live” Here is the video of Beatrice’s story:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wi-OQ5y98xA We love you Mia and we want the whole World to know…Thumbs waaaaaaaay up!

Kelsey Minard (SDCC Alumni)

Our latest thumbs up goes to one of our longest serving friends, Kelsey Minard.  Kelsey took a trip with a Chisomo team in 2009 and helped run soccer clinics and the tournament that is documented in our documentary, DON’T WRITE ME OFF [If you have not seen it, you must].   We know that Kels does not have a lot of resources since she is a recent graduate in her very first job but she continues to blow our minds with her financial commitment and generosity.  Kels is a big part of the reason why we were able to purchase brand new footballs to continue the fine work that our volunteers are doing in the lives of kids in Chinsapo, Malawi. Kels, we wanted to make this personal because we want you to know that we are grateful for you.  Because of your generosity the lives of some of our friends in Malawi will never be the same… Everyone, if you know Kelsey please give her a hug for the Chisomo Idea team… TWO THUMBS WAAAAAAAAY UP, KELS!


We would like to give a THUMBS UP to Joseph Mbuje Malikebu.  Mbuje is a former Malawian top flight footballer who got injured playing for Lilongwe soccer giants, Silver Strikers, and lost all the money he made nursing the injury.  He is the head coach at our Chinsapo Theater of Dreams academy and is the one spearheading our movement in that community. Mbuje oversees a group of over 80 soccer players that are brushing up their skills at the academy. He has worked with us for over 2 years as a volunteer.  Mbuje’s story continues to inspire us. TWO THUMBS WAY UP, MBUJE!


This Month’s Chisomo THUMBS UP goes to students from the San Diego State University, Jesse Dancy, Cynthia Castro, Tyler Smith, Rachael Frank, and Danielle Huffman.  This team of creative business students helped Chisomo create a comprehensive marketing and communication plan and in effect inspire this THUMBS UP page idea.  If you like any of the innovative experimental ideas that we will try this coming year, chances are they either came directly from them or were inspired by something they shared with us. TWO THUMBS WAY UP, FRIENDS!