Highly talented ladies in Norfolk made dozens of beautiful skirts and as we started handing them out it was relatively orderly, until the word whizzed round the locality and the Hall was overrun with masses of hopeful little girls. It was noisy, happy chaos but many went home proudly wearing their new skirts, which for most, was probably the first item of brand new clothing they’d ever had!
Thank you ladies!
“Tito” loves wood and is eager to become a carpenter, and support his little family, but is unable to afford to buy tools. He’s worked alongside a carpenter and attended some training, so we decided to invest into this eager young man. K10,000 (£40) would buy him a basic tool set and supply a little capital. He’ll report back to OHP staff for mentoring in business affairs, and some work to start him off. He’ll also pass on skills to his younger siblings.
Happily three of our “old boys” called in to report that since benefiting from our education sponsorship programme, one is teaching, another’s in Teachers’ Training, and the third is about to start Uni doing a degree in Environmental Sciences. Not to be outdone, one of our “old girls” is up to an Advanced Diploma in Rural Development.
We have 30 new students on our education sponsorship programme this year replacing those who have reached the end of their schooling, bringing the overall number currently in education to 84! Thank you sponsors!
“Give a man a kilo of maize, and he’ll eat for a day, teach him how to plant it, and he’ll eat for a year. The IATP (International Agricultural Training Programme) was instrumental in helping us build our Training Hall, and this trip they funded the lighting. We still need chairs, tables and window glasses!
Each month we enable those with AIDS to access ARV treatment by paying for transport - looking forward to the arrival of our new BUV (Basic Utility Vehicle) soon.
Thamanda is a large village with a heart to help, and a supportive chief. When we visited, we were delighted to see water abundantly flowing from the borehole we had recently repaired.
Goats’ milk is distributed here too, including to little Ndavutika - a 2-month old orphan. His mother had died suddenly when he was just 2 days’ old, and he’s now in the care of his grandmother, with OHP milk his only lifeline.
The heart of Thamanda Village the borehole, now working, repaired recently by Open Hand Projects
From there we trouped up the hill to visit the Thamanda Nursery School. 62 children from this huge village are registered, and it is run by volunteers, selflessly giving their time to benefit these young lives. They learn English, Chichewa (Malawian language), arithmetic, social skills, hygiene, and good behaviour. Each session ends with a meal - phala (porridge) the maize supplied by Open Hand Projects. (Aid Africa’s local “working title”). This might be the only meal some of the children eat that day.
Our final task was to view the land donated for the season by the village chief, where volunteers, with seeds from OHP, will grow sorghum, pigeon peas and possibly soya for the most vulnerable in their village.
Serving out phala for the nursery school
At this time of the year, before the torrential rains hit, help with shelter is a frequent request. We supply plastic paper to line grass roofs, but are only able to build houses for those most at risk.
Catherine, 42 yrs old and a widow, had a house with a termite hill inside, and huge cracks threatening it’s collapse in the rains. She has AIDS, and with 5 of her own children and 2 orphans to care for, she was desperate. The house was carefully demolished so the bricks could be re-used and properly rebuilt to last for many years.
Joyce, is a 16 year old homeless orphan, in her first term at Secondary School and fully responsible for her 4 siblings since their parents died. This means finding food, clothing, education, shelter and everything else for them all, with no source of income. We decided to build the family a house so they could be safe - it was under construction as we left Malawi.
Our Muona office closed at the end of November, lots of good work had been done in this needy area, and we’ll retain responsibility for the teens on our education programme till they leave school.
Still so much to do .....Stabilise water supply for Bilisoni village - complete the wall around the site for safety and security - expand the rabbit project into the community - equip the Training Hall and host more Courses, etc., etc., etc.....
During the past few months we’ve repaired 4 boreholes, restoring clean, safe drinking water to thousands of the rural poor, with the help of Wilmslow Wells, UK. This will make a huge difference to each household, not just in water supply, but will also impact food production as it releases women from many hours of queuing for water each day, to work in the fields. Girls are less likely to be kept at home to help carry the family’s water, so school attendance will improve, and the sick, elderly and frail will be especially relieved to regain water close-by.
This is page 3 autumn trip 2010