Issue No 5 ~ July 2005
It is a year since our last newsletter so as usual I will start with thanking every one who has made donations to The Nchima Trust. Without your continued support we could not have achieved as much as we have over the past year.
This year we took on four new medical students: two men and two women; we have also taken on two students doing pre medical courses. Our previous students all finished their course last year and all passed. We also have four students ongoing sponsored by Graham Ruthen and Sue Edwards. The medical college is one of Malawi's success stories and took on a total of 60 new students last year.
This coming year we are in addition to the student doctors funding student nurses. Our representative in Malawi, Janet Hanlon is finding suitable students for us. In view of the current trend of qualified African medical staff leaving to work overseas, the nursing school are requesting student nurses to sign a declaration stating they will stay in Malawi for a minimum of two years once their training is complete. It is hoped this will, in some small way, help plug the brain drain. HIV/ AIDS continues to be Malawi's biggest scourge and lack of drugs and pain killers is still a huge problem.
On a bright note Dr. Elizabeth Molyneux reports that the Kangaroo Care unit we helped to set up in 2003 is working well and saving lives of premature babies. The Trust still funds five nurses on the paediatric ward and we have just been able to give Dr Molyneux extra funding which she is going to use to buy heaters for 3 nurseries and is hoping to be able to find locally made incubators which will be a huge saving on the imported ones.
The new students from left to right are Judith Mkwaila, Eltas Nirenda, Kondwani Katundie and Jerome Nkambule.
The orphan problem in Malawi continues to grow daily. Hundreds are being fed at day care centres throughout the country. One orphanage in Bvumbwe which the Trust has supported have 36 children living there permanently and an outreach programme where food is supplied to a further 350 orphans and destitute old people. This story is repeated countless times throughout Malawi. This is a problem which will not go away but is far above small charities such as The Nchima Trust. We are still supporting The Samaritan Trust who provide a rescue service for Street children as opposed to orphans though they may be that as well. The children who voluntarily attend are fed, sheltered and sent to school. The older ones are offered skill training and preparation for adult life. The Nchima Trust Community Centre at Thyolo continues to thrive and is full of activity. The paper making ladies are very busy making cards and paper. When the weather is dry and space permits from the paper making, the ladies make fuel briquettes which are made from waste paper. The granny runs continue and when blankets from the container run out local ones are bought. £50 buys a bale of 30 blankets.
The picture shows ladies making briquettes for fuel from waste paper. This project is more suitable to towns where waste paper is more plentiful.
Our representative in Malawi over the past two years was Twyla Tolstad assisted by Sandra Skene. At Christmas last year Twyla left Malawi to return to America we thank her for all her help and look forward to welcoming her back to Malawi some time in the future. Janet Hanlon has stepped into her shoes and with Sandra's help is keeping all our projects ticking over. Without Janet and Sandra who both do all this work on a voluntary basis we would not be able to manage.
The Trust funds up to 100 secondary school bursaries this is a time consuming job willingly taken on by Janet and Sandra. With a constant stream of requests coming in and funding for so few its a time consuming job sorting out who is eligible for the funding. We also have students at Lunzu Craft Centre where they can study metal work, woodwork and other craft courses. We have just implemented a scheme where students leaving can on a micro credit basis have a loan to buy tools to enable them to be able to start earning money straight away.
Ann Scarborough and Rosalind Richards were in Malawi when the container arrived and with the help of Nchima Trust friends in Malawi it was soon emptied and the contents distributed to hospitals, clinics and schools around the area. We have sent this container for many years now but it is getting more expensive to fund and at the last board meeting it was decided to try and source the equipment sent out to Malawi through other channels.
Micro credit Groups are all showing excellent progress thanks to Mrs Jaffu in Blantyre and Elizabeth Ngoma in Limbe. Between them they oversee many groups in Blantyre and Limbe. This income-generating scheme helps many women who would have no other form of income. Many different schemes are in progress, buying and selling vegetables, growing vegetables, breeding rabbits for food, sewing, knitting, preparing and selling food. Both Mrs Jaffu and Mrs Ngoma report that against all odds the women are repaying their loans and making a living. Mrs Jaffu and her co-workers have introduced classes in home based care and adult literacy. Within each group of 10 women, only 6 or 7 are literate.
In the last newsletter I reported that Mary Matambe of Mikundi village asked if we could help her village dig a well. With the help of the people from Bradford on Avon I am pleased to report that Mary got a well for her village and a second one was dug in a village near by.
At Christmas we were given a donation of £950.00 with a request that it be used for children. It was decided to buy schoolbooks with the money. Many schools have only one text book per subject not any easy way to try and teach a class of a minimum of 40-50 children. Janet in Blantyre is being kept busy buying and sourcing books and will distribute to as many schools as soon as possible. It takes a long time to organise a project such as this. Schools have to be contacted to find out what they need then the books have to bought and often they aren't available but when it all comes together she tells me its a great feeling.
A few years ago we built two class rooms for Nasulu School. Last year they came to us in great agitation to tell us the roof had blown off in a whirlwind. Photos of the school minus its roof are on the web page. I'm pleased to report that thanks to a donation of £500.00 from ARCAID the school roof was replaced. Ann Scarborough went to view the school minus its roof and set about organising a builder. On her return she reported that the £500.00 hadn't been enough to cover the cost for a new roof but a local trader had made up the difference by donating the outstanding materials. Our thanks to go to him and Ann for her knack of being able to get people to help.
It has been felt for some time now that The Trust should encourage Malawians to get involved with how we give help back to Malawi. A group of four Malawians Maggie Nyirenda a doctor trained by The Nchima Trust, Rejoice Bhima, Grace Malenga again a doctor and Baron Mkwaila have formed a steering committee giving us suggestions on projects we could fund. Their input has been much appreciated by us. See their photos on the web page.
Africa has never been in the news as much as it is at the moment and yes there are great problems to be solved. Malawi is not one of the countries which is being given immediate debt relief. The Nchima Trust does make a difference all be it in a small way. We take great care to ensure that all funding goes directly to the project we are supporting and so direct to the people who need the help. Our funding comes from you and for that once again we thank you.
I could not finish this news letter without mentioning Margaret Gardiner founder of The Nchima Trust who died earlier this year. I have attached a tribute to her written by her friend Vera Chirwa. This is preceded by a few words about Margaret and Vera by Rosalind Richards our present Chairman.
I would like to remind any one wishing to donate money to the Nchima Trust that if they are a tax payer and they fill in a gift Aid form we can claim back tax relief from the government. One gift Aid form covers all past and future donations. The forms can be downloaded from the web site or I can send you one. Address below.
Ann and Rosalind brought back with them many new pictures. Too many to include in this newsletter but for those of you with internet access these can be viewed with write ups on our web page. The new pictures will be added over the next few weeks.
Malawi has always been called smiling Malawi and the warm heart of Africa these ladies from the Limbika micro credit project say it all.
Josie Quinn (Nchima Trust Secretary)