Issue No 3 ~ February 2004
This is our first newsletter for 2004 so a big thank you to everyone who so very generously helped with donations and items for the container which left for Malawi in December 2003.
Quite recently I was asked “Where in Africa is Malawi?”. So for anyone who doesn’t know I am starting this newsletter with two small maps to show you. As you can see Malawi is a tiny country in relation to its giant neighbours Mozambique and Zambia. It has the third largest lake in Africa which is approximately 365 miles long and 52 miles wide at its widest point. It is a land locked country so is very dependant on surrounding countries for getting any produce out and commodities in. It always has been and remains to this day a very poor country depending heavily on aid and charity.
Once again the container which we send every year went packed to its very outer limits with medical supplies, medical equipment, knitted toys for children, books and many more items all of which helps to make life a little better for the people of Malawi.
Ann Scarborough the driving force behind filling the container went to Malawi at the beginning of February to be there for when it arrived. She and her band of helpers in Malawi will set about the mammoth task of distributing the contents to hospitals, schools and villages. She will be there until the end of March and will visit projects we have been involved with during last year and some which we have supported for many years. Unlike last year Malawi had a much better harvest this year so hunger ever present is not quite so serious this year. Last year Ann spent a lot of her time distributing food bought with money donated by many people in the UK.
The four medical students are all doing well, two are now in their third year of studies and two will finish this year. Thanks to one very kind donor we are increasing the number of medical students from four to eight. Ethel Banda doing a degree in Education is also finishing this year. Goodwill Kachingwe, a final year student at Bunda Agricultural college, should qualify this year too. Ethel and Goodwill are both former students of Thyolo Secondary School where their fees were funded by The Nchima Trust. It’s always good to be able to follow the progress of some if not all the students we support.
We continued to support Dr. Grace Malenga and Prof. Elizabeth Molyneux both at Queen Elizabeth hospital in Blantyre. The paediatric ward is sadly lacking in equipment and nursing staff, we managed to increase our on going support to the children's ward which enabled them to continue to employ additional nursing staff and cleaners. We also funded the setting up of a Kangaroo Baby Care Unit. Prof Molineux asked for help as this new method of nursing very premature babies had met with great success in other parts of the world. As its name suggests premature babies are kept in close bodily contact to their mothers just as a baby kangaroo would be. This saves on the need for expensive incubators and the babies thrive as they are not parted from their mothers. All it needs is a nurse trained in premature baby care to keep a watch over the mothers and infants and a small ward where mothers and babies can be kept in relative isolation to keep them free from infection. The total cost of setting this up was £2700.00 a fraction of the cost of one incubator and the lives saved enormous.
The Samaritan Trust of Malawi which looks after the ever increasing number of street children continues to struggle financially. We provide funding for five members of staff but they do need much more support. They have two drop-in centres one in Limbe and one in Blantyre. If anyone can help with additional donations they would be very grateful. Without The Samaritan Trust many more children would be living on the streets of Malawi.
One of our big success stories has been helping Mr. Lukka Piano. He is a disabled teacher who lives in Megowi a village in the Mulanje district of Southern Malawi. A few years ago The Nchima Trust built him a small school to train students to be shoe makers. Every year since then he trains 5 or 6 disabled students. He has great difficulty getting access to good quality leather so we include leather for him in the container.
In the last newsletter we mentioned the Zipatso Association a group of fruit growers who needed help to market their citrus fruit. BESO found us a volunteer to go to Mwanza to assess the possibility of helping us to find funding for these farmers. Mr. David Smith went to Malawi at the beginning of February to assess the situation. Once we get his report we will know if this project can be helped.
Throughout the year we get many requests for help and have to turn down many more. In spite of ever increasing costs in Malawi we did not have to reduce funding to any project last year. In fact we were able to increase funding in some cases, and also managed to fund new ones. We were very lucky with the help we were given from many different and unexpected sources. P & O have been very generous in donating Church service collections from various of their cruise ships. Martin and Lucy Ashley continue to support us by selling greetings cards, Victoria and Martin McDonald send us donations made to them from people who have stayed with them. Many people knitted teddies, jumpers and toys or donated items for the container. During last year I wrote to so many groups, schools and individuals giving our thanks. One big thank you should go to our volunteer representative in Malawi Twyla Tolstad who, with two helpers organise the day to day work of The Nchima Trust. Without her we would not be able to function as efficiently as we do.
The Nchima Trust Web site is proving very popular and every month the number of people visiting it increases. Caroline Tresman looks after it for us and does a stalwart job.
For those of you who have not visited the web site it was with great sadness that we had to announce the death of Sir Melville Crofton MBE in June last year. Mel had been a board member for many years and his input to The Nchima Trust has been greatly missed.
Our Gift Aid Scheme has been very successful and we benefited greatly from all of you who submitted forms to us. Anyone wishing to participate in this scheme and haven‘t done so already, Gift Aid forms are available from me or any Board Member. Providing you are a tax payer and the cheque is made out to The Nchima Trust we can take advantage of this scheme.
Josie Quinn (Nchima Trust Secretary)
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.