STEKAskills Charity

The Cat Nicholson fund for transforming lives in Malawi with STEKAskills

Fundraising for Stekaskills
by 11 supporters
In memory of Cat Nicolson

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We build solidarity between communities to deliver sustainable social change


By May (Cat’s mother) and Bruce (her husband)

Cat was an exceptional human being who meant so much to so many people.

She truly was a beautiful soul both inside and out.  Cat’s mission in life was to share joy, to share love, to share laughter with everyone she came across. She was also an extremely dedicated hairdresser who was passionate about the development of young people, both in hairdressing and in life skills, encouraging them to be the very best that they could be.

Although many who knew Cat are familiar with her many qualities, most people are not  aware of the magnitude of the commitment from Cat to the work in Malawi of the small grassroots STEKAskills charity. 

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, only 11 % can afford to complete high school and less than 1% can get a college education to gain the skills they need to get work.  STEKAskills is a small grassroots Scottish charity partnered with an amazing organisation, STEKA, a children's home in Malawi led by the inspirational children and women's rights campaigner Godknows Maseko.

Godknows. as a survivor of human trafficking, knows exactly how vulnerable young people are in Malawi if they can't support themselves through work. So STEKAskills supports his vision to
build and develop a vocational skills centre (or college) where poverty experienced people can learn a trade and the skills they need to get locally relevant work (mainly by developing their own independent businesses). 

 Once Cat developed a deep understanding about STEKAskills’ aims from one of her clients at Charlie Miller Hairdressing, a charitable fire was lit deep within her and she worked tirelessly to involve Charlie Miller in fundraising and support.  As a result, part of a STEKAskills college building was developed into a hairdressing school, which in recognition and memory of Cat,  has been named  the ‘Cat Nicholson Hairdressing School’.

So, in addition to the young people in Edinburgh and further afield in the UK whose lives Cat has helped develop and transform through hairdressing, Cat’s involvement with the STEKAskills charity and her dedication to the STEKAskills cause has already directly helped some young very poverty experienced people in Malawi to transform their lives by training to become hairdressers.   Although Cat is sadly no longer with us, we hope that now her family, friends and colleagues will build on her legacy to make sure that her hairdressing school can continue to flourish and transform more lives.

We would love you to fundraise for this with us and we’d be happy to support an event you might organise (from an afternoon tea party to selling some of our Christmas decorations to your friends or colleagues). All donations will be used to sustain Cat’s hairdressing school and could fund:

Cat’s Kits – Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, and at the moment graduates from the school can’t afford to buy the tools for practicing as hairdressers (scissors, combs, razors etc). We want to create Cat’s Kits containing everything they need so that as soon as they graduate, they can immediately start practicing as hairdressers and earn their way to sustainable futures.

Sponsoring safe accommodation and food for female students. Many of the poverty experienced women who want to train as hairdressers are prevented from attending their full course because of abusive partners or families who don’t believe in gender equality, or because they can only afford one meal a day and need to be at home to eat that at lunchtime (when the maize porridge, nsima is cooked). By offering a safe hostel space within the STEKA campus, these women could study hard  and complete their course so they could earn their way towards a sustainable, independent future.

Find out more about the charity at

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About the charity


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RCN SC048889
We are a Scottish charity partnered with the grassroots Malawian charity STEKA . Together we empower marginalised young Malawians and survivors of human trafficking so they can get their voices heard and build safe sustainable futures by reducing their donor dependency & developing skills for work.

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