Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Tiyamike Feeding Centre update

Tiyamike feeding centre - Built by the "Young Ones" on a Quest
Whist I was in Malawi I visited Tiyamike feeding centre, where Margreet, a nurse from Holland who lives and works in Malawi was running her weekly under-fives clinic. Every Friday Margreet runs a clinic at one of four Joshua feeding centres.

Margreet weighs every child who comes to the clinic and asks their mother if there are any problems at the moment. She record the children's weights and does this in order to identify common illnesses such as diarrhoea, malnutrition, worms and malaria. If she is concerned that they are suffering from any of the above or more serious illnesses, she refers people to the Joshua clinic, local hospital or she gives out basic medication herself.

Margreet with Hannah (Joshua volunteer)  at the clinic
By taking healthcare into the heart of these impoverished rural communities Joshua and Margreet are helping to ensure that some of the most vulnerable families have access to healthcare services. Without this front line service many illnesses would not be identified until much later, and the damage done by them would be much greater and in some cases life threatening.

Whilst at Tiyamike, Stevie, one of Joshua's field officers gave me a tour of the area. I learnt that up until 2012 this feeding centre had been little more than a grass hut. But thanks to the incredible hard work of a team of volunteers from Northern Ireland, called the Young Ones, this centre was built in 4 weeks - which is truly remarkable.
Sarah Muthere dreams of becoming a teacher

I also learnt that the group had been so touched by the lives of the people they met in Malawi that they are currently sponsoring 8 children through secondary education at the local school, Limbera. Primary education is free in Malawi, but secondary is not. As a result many of the poorest children are unable to continue their secondary education, which is vital for their future job prospects.

I visited Limberia School and met three of the students the group are sponsoring. Sarah Muthere is 18 years old and lives with her Grandmother. Her parents separated when she was 11 and since then her mother struggled to care for her and her younger sister. Her grandmother works on other peoples land (this is called piece work) in order to support them, but she struggles and when Sarah was offered a place at secondary school, she wasn't able to go because she couldn't afford the fees.

But thanks to the support of the "Young Ones" she is back in school.

"My grandmother was so happy when she found out I was going to be sponsored, our family struggles for money and this makes such a difference. I want to say thank you for sponsoring me. Education is important to me. It will help me achieve my dream of one day becoming a teacher."

Tiawanda Binauri wants to study humanities at University
I also meet 18 year old Tiawanda Binauri, his parents separated when he was just six years old. His father has completely abandoned the family and his mother struggles to earn a living selling tomatoes and ground nuts in the market. Tiawanda started at secondary school, but unfortunately his mother couldn't afford to pay the fees and he was thrown out. Thanks to support from the Young Ones he is back in school and is working hard. His family still struggle though, and during the "hungry season" he often eats just one meal a day.

But despite this adversity he is an optimistic and generous student, “Education is important to me because it helps me work towards my future plans, I can help myself and my parents, and hopefully other needy people like me." 

I also met Owen Banda. A charismatic young man, Owen comes from a family of three. His father is unemployed and his mother earns less than £12 a month fetching water and cooking on a local building site.

Owens parents are"so happy" he is sponsored
With their monthly earnings less than the cost of school fee's Owens parents were unable to support him at Secondary School. He was identified by the local Head Teacher who approached Joshua for sponsorship on his behalf. Thankfully the "Young Ones" support came at just the right time and Owen was able to continue his education.

Although life is hard from Owen and his family, he gets up every day a 5.30 to collect water from the well and after school he has to collect firewood, things are much better than they were before he was sponsored. His favourite subject is English and in the future he would like to be a mechanic. "Thank you for sponsoring me to do my secondary education, it is important and will help sustain us in the future."

Joshua is incredibly grateful for the support from this group, we only exist because of this support from individuals and groups and without it we simply wouldn't be able to help thousands of HIV/AIDS orphans, vulnerable children and their communities every year.  Thank you.

If you want to find out more about volunteering with Joshua click here. Or if you want to find out about sponsoring a student, e-mail Heather heather@joshuainmalawi.org.uk