COVID-19 update from Tikondane

First of all, we’d like to express an enormous thank you for your continued support during these very difficult times, when there are so many other needs and worries on our minds. One thing is certain: the needs of Malawi and the projects we (you) support will not go away. Exact figures are hard to come by, but the virus is spreading and the worst is probably yet to come.
 
To update you a little on the plight of the “street children” whose schooling we support through Tikondane: the schools did not re-open in July, as had previously been announced, and the assumption is that they will not do so before the new school year in late September. This long period without structure has been deeply unsettling for the kind of children we support, and many have drifted back onto the streets – supporting themselves by begging, stealing or piece-meal bits of work. Tikondane staff have been doing a marvelous job in daily street outreach visits, taking children into the transit shelter, encouraging them to return to their villages, raising awareness about the reality of the pandemic to counter-act some of the many myths around (and utilising radio and TV programmes to do so), helping children access medical help or intervening with the police if necessary. While other organisations have closed down, Tikondane remains the only reliable organisation working with children on the streets. We are proud to be supporting them.

News from Tikondane Care for Street Children

Thank you to everybody who has been in touch concerned about what is happening to our projects in Malawi now that Covid-19 has hit the country. A particular concern has been the welfare of the children whose boarding school fees we support, through the Tikondane Care for Street Children centre, and we are grateful to have received a full report from the staff there.
 
When the schools were shut on March 20th, and a lockdown of sorts imposed, it was hoped that the children would go to the various homes and family members who are prepared to accept them in the school holidays, but, as feared, many returned to life on the streets, where of course they are at a hugely increased risk of infection. The Tikondane street outreach team have been very active in seeking out these children, dispelling much of the ignorance and misinformation they have about the disease (such as drinking beer will make you immune), persuading them to go home, and in some cases accompanying them there or financing transport. The latest street survey of which we have news found that a lot of the children have once more returned to the streets, confused by contradictory information, some very afraid, some believing it is all a myth. We are very pleased to be able to help Tikondane with the extra expense this essential work is causing, and continue to hope that the children will survive this enormous extra assault on their well-being.

Although the plans for re-opening the schools are not known, we have transferred money for fees should they be required so that there need be no delay in getting the children back to the security and relative safety of boarding school.

 This wouldn’t be possible without you, our wonderful supporters…..THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Message to our friends and supporters

We just wanted to reach out to all of you, our wonderful supporters, in these very strange times we are living in, and send greetings and best wishes. We hope that you and your loved ones are all staying safe and well.

We also wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to you for continuing your financial support at a time when there are so many other priorities and things to worry about. As well as our regular monthly donations, we’ve also been cheered by some generous individual gifts, just at a time when our two main fundraising events have had to be postponed.

So far, the news from Malawi about Covid-19 has been relatively good. Schools have been shut, however, and the lack of testing and any decent health structure makes it difficult to gauge. It will obviously be quite a time before Pauline can return, and give you more accurate news.

As we have often remarked, if you want to make a difference in Malawi, you have to be an optimist! So in a spirit of optimism, and because we all need something to look forward to “when this is all over”, we have decided to move our Garden Party to Saturday September 5th! Who knows where we will all be by then, but we just might be getting back to some kind of normality, and what a party we will have!

So, dear friends, please put the date in your diary, put the cake-making on hold for now, and I’ll try to resist drinking the famous bottle of Malawi Gin put on one side for the raffle.

Stay safe, keep smiling, and from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for caring.

More help for the schoolgirls of Kochilira

Pauline was pleased to visit the newly completed girls’ hostel funded by Nick Webber Trust in Kochilira village. We were asked to fund this basic hostel for the young women who have done well enough to win a coveted place at secondary school but cannot afford the boarding fees. Until now they have been renting in the village but this has often proved unsafe, so we were pleased to be able to respond to requests from local community leaders for a safe and affordable alternative. Solar-powered, with basic but adequate cooking and bathroom facilities, the hostel is proving to be one more way to help the girls stay in school and stay safe. Thanks to all our supporters who have made it possible.

Stay at the girls hostel in Kochilira
Inside the bedroom

Cooking at the girls hostel in Kochilira
Cooking at Kochilira hostel

Buy a desk for Kochilira Primary School this Christmas

This year, give the gift of a seat and desk for one child in Standard Seven at Kochilira Primary School in Malawi, through the Nick Webber Trust.

As well as creating a more conducive environment for learning for everyone, desks play a vital role in helping girls to continue attending school once they reach puberty. Standard Seven is the penultimate year of primary school and many girls in this year have reached puberty. Providing desks for this class will help these girls to complete primary school and have a chance of secondary education.

New desks

You can donate via www.justgiving.com/nickwebbertrust and mention ‘desks’ in your message or directly into our bank account with the reference ‘desks’ and we’ll make sure it gets turned into wood.

Last year, with the help of people like you through this scheme, the Nick Webber Trust provided enough desks for everybody in Standard Eight at this school.

Download a Desk gift certificate to put under the tree/in the card.

More good news from Kochilira

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A huge THANK YOU to all you generous people who responded to our ‘buy a desk for Christmas’ campaign. We raised enough to equip the top class of Kochilira Primary with desks for everyone. As you can see, Headteacher Hestings, with his Deputy, the chairman and secretary of the School Committee, are very pleased with the result.

Now we are beginning the construction of the Girls’ hostel at nearby Tidzuke Orphan Care, that we wrote to you about in March. This hostel will help those girls who win a place at the local secondary school but cannot afford the boarding fees. It will give them more safety and privacy, and will enable them to use the library in the Orphan Care Centre (built by NWT) so that homework could be done with electric light. Sufficient funds to make a start have been transferred, and of course the local community have already moulded the bricks. It would be great if we could have the building ready for the start of the next school year in September.

To help make this possible, please support our Annual Garden Party on June 15th.
As usual, it will be held at 1 Apple Tree Walk, Clymping, BN17 5QN.
Drop in any time from 2pm and enjoy tea and cakes, a chance to win the famous Malawi Gin in our raffle, the Bring and Buy stall and have a flutter on the tombola.
Plus, of course, an update on all our projects in Malawi.
Free pick ups are available from Ford station on request.