COVID-19 and Malawi Update

In Malawi, the schools have now re-opened  just for the exam classes. The Primary Leaving and MSCE exams which should have been in June will now take place in October, so that progression to the next stage for the fortunate few can still happen.

All other classes will return at the beginning of October. The pupils all require face masks and hand gel,  which we have offered to fund for the children and young people whose education we fund through Tikondane. Tikondane have done a wonderful job in preparing the “street children” for the return as best they can and we are proud to be supporting them.

In the country as a whole the virus has not, so far, done as much damage as feared, with just under 200 deaths so far.

Christmas cards on sale – order today

This year, more than most, it is going to be important to send greetings cards to all those friends and family that we haven’t been able to meet up with as much as we normally would. As it happens we have the perfect greetings card available for you to order right now, and tick that off your to-do list!

The design above, which we have captioned “Room at the Inn”, features the contribution made by our new hostel to providing opportunity for girls and young women to continue their education. The inside of the card is pictured below. 

Still available at only £4 for ten cards, with envelopes, and with free delivery as a thank you for your support. The cards are also available without the Christmas greeting, a handy stocking filler gift or for writing “Thank You”s or quick notes.
 
To order, just email Pauline at webber.pauline@gmail.com or telephone her on 07906243191, making clear if you would like the Christmas greeting or not. To pay, please if you can make a direct transfer to our bank account (Sort code:089299 – Acc No: 65156711) with the reference ‘Cards’. If you are not able to direct transfer, a cheque will be very acceptable.
 

New project – Law Centre and refuge for women and children

We have committed ourselves to an exciting new project: a drop-in law centre and refuge for women and children affected by domestic abuse. After careful investigation, we have accepted a request from the Women Lawyers of Malawi to provide £20,000 to purchase land in the capital, Lilongwe, and construct a basic facility where women can access free legal advice and, if necessary, be offered a safe place to stay until a longer-term option is found. Knowing as you do the background from which our Trust developed, we are sure you will understand our enthusiasm for and commitment to such an ambitious project and we are proud to be associated with these dedicated female lawyers, led by the recipient of our very first law scholarship. Obviously this is a long-term project…..you’ll be hearing more from us soon! Any suggestions you may have for helping us to raise this money will be very helpful.

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.