It is now almost 10 years since St Luke’s first links with Malawi were made and here is an opportunity to share with church members some background to the project, what has been achieved so far, some thoughts and experiences.
Background: Why Malawi? Why Malosa?
In 2010, the Outreach Committee at St Lawrence Church, Abbots Langley decided that, as part of their overseas charitable giving, they wanted to establish a long-term commitment to one area of need in the world rather than supporting a number of anonymous charities. The congregation as a whole voted to support St Luke’s Hospital in Malosa and what started as a modest contribution to the hospital has now developed into a firm and lasting relationship with St Luke’s Hospital and the community of Malosa, both for St Lawrence and St Luke’s here in Watford.
What Projects have been undertaken?
In partnership with St Lawrence Church, the first major project was to facilitate the building and equipping of a Maternity Unit at the Hospital’s remote clinic at Nkasala. Since then, the Hospital has become one of our regular Mission Partners to which we have continued to give regular financial support. Other fundraising by the churches (managed by a team largely from St Lawrence) has enabled support for a variety of projects including: –
St. Luke’s Hospital
Refurbishing and decorating the Women’s Ward and the Out Patients’ Department including its reroofing; Repairing the hospital’s autoclave; retooling the Hospital’s maintenance department; building a placenta pit at Nkasala.
There are over 20 of these under the jurisdiction of the hospital and basic equipment has been given including books, stationery, handmade alphabet and number hangings. Finance has been provided for the training of the nursery staff.
Malosa Secondary School (a state funded boarding school) …. the repair of the school’s rice steamers, providing basic equipment such as textbooks, stationery, science equipment, and also desks and chairs.
What is the latest Project?
The team had started to raise money to rebuild one of the Hospital’s Under-fives Clinic and Nursery but the Hospital’s Principal Administrator said that there is now an urgent need for a safe water supply at Mposa, one of the Hospital’s outlying clinics. This will involve drilling a bore hole and installing a pump and will provide safe water for the clinic which serves upwards of 30,000 people. A grant for this work is in the course of being provided.
How are projects chosen?
The projects that have been undertaken have always been in consultation with the Hospital’s Principal Administrator or the School’s Headteacher.
Once established these projects are run and maintained by local people, for example chicken and egg production directed by the Primary Health Care Co-ordinator, training of the maintenance staff in the Hospital’s out lying clinics, the renewable sanitary-wear project and the Orphan Tailoring Training. Occasionally relief funding has been provided in times of crisis for example the time the Hospital’s Primary Health Care Department’s roof blew off in the hurricane and more recently during the Pandemic. The aim is that projects should enable improvement opportunities in the Hospital, School or local community.
Effect of the Pandemic?
Malawi is one of the poorest nations on earth and however much we here in the UK are affected, the distress and hardship suffered by Malawians threatens their very existence. At a time when help is most needed, the team has sought to maintain support. So Malosa Secondary School has been supported during this time by helping to pay the school’s support staff salaries, while the school has had to close and funding has been provided for Covid protective equipment for the students as it opens.
When will we visit?
The first visit was in 2014 and the second in 2018, along with members from St Peter’s Church in Watford and St Lawrence Church. A further visit this year was planned but that is now deferred. We will go again, but when will depend on the Covid situation both here and in Malawi.
Do we need to visit?
Visiting is a fantastic opportunity to see how money for our projects is being used and to witness first hand what needs to be improved. As a result of visiting, relationships have developed based on mutual trust and respect and at the end of both of the trips one of the enduring messages from friends in Malosa was: please visit us again! There has also been an opportunity to share in Christian fellowship with many people whose joy in their faith is apparent despite having little materially.
In talks and articles about the trips, people here have been enabled to understand the lives and circumstances of those in poorer parts of the world and the response from people locally has been amazing. They have given generously through personal donations, supporting fund raising events, providing items for Ebay and car boot sales. One initiative has been to buy space on a container lorry and people have knitted and donated much needed items that have been sent to the Hospital and School. It has been an exciting coming together of people locally to support others in one of the poorest countries of the world.
Fundraising: Fundraising is continuing for the various projects that are being supported and there are many ways that you can get involved … by making a personal donation, donating items to sell on Ebay, or at car boot sales and of course …. supporting events!!
Wendy Meldrum (St Lawrence)
Paul Evans(St Lukes)