St. Andrews Church Malawi Project – Working with AquAid Lifeline
AquAid Lifeline supports over 3000 orphans in Malawi. They have built an orphan Village called Namisu, which is near Blantyre. Namisu Orphan Village has a school, which over 500 orphans from the surrounding area attend during the week. There are also 7 “houses” in each of which orphans who have no living relatives can stay. Up to 20 children live in these houses, looked after by housemothers. Children attending the school are given two meals a day and are given support with clothing and soap to take the pressure off their guardians. The village is almost self-sufficient, growing all its own food and employs carpenters, administrators, farmers and tailors. It also has a shop which surrounding villagers can buy from. AquAid have also a 2nd school called Namarita that is soon to be extended to become a secondary school and day care centres where at each, over 100 orphans will go daily and get food and a basic education.
St Andrew’s involvement began in 2005 when we arranged for a group of our young people to volunteer at Namisu for a month in 2007. This group of nine were so successful in fundraising that they found that when they went to return home at the end of their month that they still had lots of money left over. Wanting to leave a lasting impact for Malawian orphans, the group funded the building of a day care centre and 24- bedded residence at Thyolo, with huge area of ground for growing food. They also funded the building of a residence for 32 orphans at a place called Kambilonjo where the existing day care centre had no residence. St Andrew’s has since undertaken to pay for the upkeep and running of these two places.
The trip was such a success that it was agreed that a group of young people from St Andrews would go out every two years to continue with the work that was started, thus giving more young people the opportunity to serve in this way. Two other groups of young people have since gone out in 2009 and 2011.
These trips involve the young people helping in classes at the school; organising sports and arts & crafts activities; organising and running a Sports Day for the AquAid School and several other local government schools; organising and running school trips; leading devotions each evening in the orphan homes. The groups also undertake each trip to take on specific projects. These have included: painting the school at Namisu; designing and constructing play areas at our projects at Thyolo and Kambilonjo; painting murals on the walls of day care centres and residences at Thyolo and Kambilonjo; converting a disused building into a clinic, decorating and fitting out as well as installing solar power; installing solar power in the Standard 8 class, teachers’ office and library at AquAid School in Namisu.
We have also seen two of our young people volunteer at the village for a year and another for three months.
The fundraising is ongoing. Each young person has their fare subsidised but the bulk of the money raised goes towards the upkeep of the projects at Thyolo and Kambilonjo as well as funding projects undertaken when each group goes out. From the start back in 2005, the young people of St Andrews along with the help of the congregation have raised around £150,000.
Our Child Sponsorship Scheme is up and running with about 85 children now being sponsored each month for £10 each. In total, when the residence at Kambilonjo is finally up and running in the New Year, we will be responsible for the care and education of just over 200 children with around 50 being boarders.
The group also offers the opportunity to purchase alternative gifts through a catalogue. – i.e. buying medicine for a child in Malawi for a friend as a Christmas or Birthday gift.
For several years, clothes, school equipment, sports equipment, football strips, blankets, knitting machines, games, medical supplies, bikes etc. have been sent out in a container going from Aberdeen. Unfortunately the group that agreed to take our boxes have now finished taking things to Malawi so we are presently trying to source another means of getting these supplies to our projects.