Issue No 2 ~ May 2003
Our first newsletter was at the beginning of this year, and since then Nchima Trust has had a very busy but productive few months. I would like to open this newsletter with our very grateful thanks to everyone who has made donations to the Trust. Your generosity has helped us to achieve far more then we ever expected. Ann Scarborough and Rosalind Richards went to Malawi at the beginning of this year. Ann was there for three months and Rosalind two weeks. Both were happy with the work Nchima Trust is doing and felt however small, our contribution is making a difference to Malawi and its people. They had many projects to look at and succeeded in getting round them all.
THE CONTAINER SENT FROM UK
Ann's first task was to empty the container which, thanks to a splendid team of helpers, went smoothly. She then had the mammoth task of distributing everything sent out from England. Many hospitals through out the country benefited.
During the previous year Nchima Trust had received donations totalling £9000.00 which donors had specifically asked to provide food to help alleviate the hunger within Malawi. Ann travelled extensively, either delivering the food herself or accompanying a lorry if more than a ton was needed. She found there is food in the Malawi, but the cost is out of the reach of most of the rural people. Especially for the old people who are not only trying to feed themselves but also in many cases bringing up grandchildren whose parents have died of Aids.
MICRO CREDIT SCHEMES
Rosalind and Ann visited many of the women and were treated in true Malawi fashion with songs and speeches. The woman gave exhibitions of their various commodities, which ranged from selling eggs to avocadoes, knitted goods to bolts of material, samosas to doughnuts. Although these women are managing the groups well, many of them are struggling as they live in very poor areas and many of their men folk have died, this has left mothers, grandmothers and families almost destitute.
We are still supporting 4 students and all are doing well. Ann was invited to the opening of a new medical school and a prize giving. Two of our previous students Maggie Nyirenda and Luckson Dullie received awards. Both are now at Queen Elizabeth hospital as junior doctors.
THYOLO COMMUNITY CENTRE
To quote Ann when she visited it was " Abuzz with activity". The centre was built with a large donation given by a women's group here in England. Dr. Helen Self a member of this group went to Malawi to visit the centre and see how the project was working. The papermaking is a great success, beadwork has been added and there are plans to dry fruit. There are 17 ladies who make the paper and none of them can read or write, for them it's a good way of earning a small income. The youth choir meets once a week and there had been requests to start literary classes and a library. Rosalind and Ann were highly entertained by a group of young people giving an exhibition of dancing and singing focussed on HIV protection.
Government schools particularly, continue to struggle. Teachers are often unpaid for months on end. Class size grows daily and equipment in the schools is at an all time low. Three textbooks between a class of 50, is good. When you consider the teacher has to have one, its not very often a student sees a book. Our funds are limited but we did manage to buy 80 text books covering 5 different subjects for Mulanje Secondary School. Mr Longwe the head teacher told us
"It is a wonderful day and it is not often wonderful things happen at my school"
THE SAMARITAN TRUST
Their work with street children is doing well under the new leadership of Frank Velthuizen. Nchima Trust continues to give them funding but they are constantly worried about the fragility of their finances. They now run three centres including a new skills centre.
FRIENDS OF SICK CHILDREN
Dr. Moylneux has had to reduce the number of nurses we fund on her paediatric ward. It's a sad fact that a country desperate to keep its few trained staff have difficulties doing this. Pressure from outside recruiting agencies is great. We have managed to find a little extra money to allow her to re-employ her lost nurses.
THE ZIPATSO ASSOCIATION
Zipatso means fruit in Malawi. This association was founded in 1992 in the Mwanza District and was set up to serve the interests of small holder fruit farmers, particularly aiming to provide husbandry and marketing support. There is great potential here to help 3-4000 farmers, unfortunately early efforts by the association to market fruit directly for the members failed and both farmers and funding supporters lost interest.
We feel this association could be rejuvenated. It would take time and would need to be spread over 4 or 5 years. Nchima Trust has success with its micro credit schemes and this would be the same but on a much larger scale. We would need financing and people with specialist knowledge. We would have to provide accommodation for a VSO, employ a project officer, nursery staff, guards and at least one motorbike plus running costs. All of this would cost a minimum of £4500 per year.
Assuming we could find a VSO we need to provide interim support of 3-7 months. This would involve sending someone to Malawi for a short term contract maybe through BESO unless a local retired person with horticultural/marketing knowledge could be found. We would have to provide airfares, accommodation, medical facilities. CAN ANYONE WHO READS THIS HELP? It's a very worth while cause and would benefit many farmers? Does anyone have the marketing / horticultural knowledge required and could you offer your services for a short period of time? Could anyone offer financial help, however small to get this project started? For further information about the Zipatso Association contact us direct.
GREETINGS CARDS IN AID OF NCHIMA TRUST
We are very grateful to Martin and Lucy Ashley who are producing cards using designs by Malawian artists. Proceeds from the sale of these cards are going to Nchima Trust. If anyone would like to purchase any please telephone Martin or Lucy on 01225 - 742268 for Mail Order details.
Here are a few quotes from Malawi which sums our position up very well:
"Please, please don't abandon us"
Jaquie Von Ribbeck, Trustee of Samaritans
"We couldn't function without The Nchima Trust"
Dr. Liz Molyneux Paediatrician QE Hospital
"The flour I took was destined for the elderly. One old lady wanted to hug me, but was unable to raise herself from the floor, so I met her halfway."
"We don't have a posh four-wheel drive vehicle, an office, labelled headquarters, paid "project co-ordinators" on the ground and all the usual paraphernalia of aid work. What we have is a wonderful circle of volunteers and generous friends who tend our projects, lend us vehicles, get us out of scrapes and offer hospitality. Without their support costs of a visit to Malawi would be astronomical and the operation would be hard to maintain."
Malawi muddles on. Nothing, but nothing is ever fixed unless a huge fuss is made. Corruption is rife, roughly 20% of the population is HIV positive leaving in its wake two million orphans and hunger abounds in many areas. In the midst of all this gloom we feel Nchima Trust shines and feel we are on the right track, doing the right things and giving the right help to the right people and we certainly have an excellent reputation. Many thanks go to everyone both in England and Malawi who give us this help, support and encouragement.
I have one last word of thanks as you will see we now have a Web Site kindly donated to us by Knowledge Web Publishing, Our special thanks go to Caroline Tresman for her excellent work building this site and her patience with me in learning how to use it. Please, please all of you visit it and if any one has any information about Malawi that would benefit us all by being on the web site please contact me.
Gift Aid Scheme
Nchima trust participates in the Gift Aid Scheme. Gift Aid forms are available from me or any of the Board Members. Providing you are a tax payer and the cheque is made out to The Nchima Trust we can take advantage of this scheme.
For those of you who have received this newsletter by post, if you have an email address please send it to me and help cut administration costs further.
Josie Quinn (Nchima Trust Secretary)