Monday, 26 January 2015

Your donations in action - Malawi Floods
Thanks to the incredible response to Joshua's Emergency Appeal we have been quickly able to start helping people whose lives have been devastated by flooding in Malawi. 

One such person is Mphatso, a single mother with 11 children to care for. Mphatso makes her living from brewing local beer to sell in her village which is in the Khola region, north-west of Blantyre. She was making a fresh batch of beer on Monday morning a few weeks ago, amidst torrential rains, when her life was turned upside-down. She told us of the ordeal of being caught in her house as it collapsed.
“I went inside to dry off a little, and one by one the walls began to fall. First was the toilet outside, then one wall of the house, then another, then another”. As she talks, she gestures absent mindedly towards an area where walls had recently stood. 

“I picked up the baby and ran towards the doorway, but froze. The doorway fell before me. I scrambled outside in time to watch the whole house fall down."

Buried in the rubble were all of Mphatso’s worldly goods. Kitchen utensils, clothes, blankets and her source of income, her clay pot for brewing beer.
In the days that followed, she managed to unearth the family bed and some blankets, a few broken plates and items of clothing. Everything else has "gone the way of the mud". Luckily none of her other children were in the house when it fell, and all but the youngest four have gone to stay with other relatives. One of her sons, a Form 3 student told us he has not yet returned to school as his uniform has been destroyed. 

Since that day, Mphatso and the four youngest children have taken refuge in Joshua’s nearest Feeding Centre in Nkanamano. That first Monday night, when the storms were at their worst, four other families joined them, but moved on the next day, finding shelter with other relatives.
Mphasto however has nowhere else to go. Her home for now is her muddy bed, looking sheepishly small in the giant hall of the Feeding Centre. When we arrived at the centre, two of the children were found, groggy and sleepy in the bed, sick with Malaria. Mphatso arrived back from the clinic soon after we did, with medication in hand.

When asked what her long term plan was, she said she simply does not know. She cannot afford to rent or move away, and has no family that can take them all in. She added, “We have to wait until dark before we can shower as there is no private place. I feel shame.” to your donations to Joshua's Emergency Appeal we are already helping Mphatso and several other families like her. We are providing immediate relief such as extra food, kitchen utensils, buckets, blankets, seeds and soap. In the months ahead, your donations will also provide training, tools and materials for people like Mphatso to rebuild stronger more durable homes that will stand up to the rains if they come again. 

Brick by brick, one family at a time, you are helping rebuild lives. Thank you.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Sylvia's MBE helps boost coverage of Malawi Floods

We are delighted that this week Sylvia Avgehrinos, our Executive director and co-founder has been featured in the Croydon Advertiser because of the MBE in the New Year's Honours list.

Once again Sylvia has used her own success to help those in Malawi - by highlighting the recent devastating floods in Malawi to help our Emergency Appeal to gain more support.

You can read the full article online here.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Urgent appeal to help families affected by flooding in Malawi

70,000 people have been displaced and 48 killed due to flooding caused by extreme weather in Malawi. Caught between two cyclones there has been non-stop heavy rain for more than 72 hours, the worst the country has experiences in 20 years. Worryingly things are set to get worse.

The second cyclone is expected to hit within the next 24 hours.

The situation is distressing, homes have been swept away, crops destroyed and a third of the country has been declared a disaster zone.

The communities supported by Joshua on the outskirts of Blantyre have been particularly badly affected, so much so that we have been unable to reach them all, with roads swept away, bridges underwater and homes completely submerged.

Many of the families we support live in traditional homes made of mud with thatched
roofs, leaving them extremely vulnerable.

We need to ensure that those who have had to abandon their homes have food, blankets and access to clean safe water.

Many people have fled to higher land and are seeking shelter in schools and feeding centres. In Mwandika, at least six families took refuge in the Feeding Centre last night. In Manyenje, more than 70 people have reported damaged homes, 50 of them having lost at least one wall, while 28 families have lost their home entirely.

In Pensulo, unverified reports suggest as many as 200 displaced families are taking refuge in Mitsidi Primary School, having abandoned their damaged homes.

Malawi is looking at a hungry season the likes of which have not been seen for many years.

How you can help

Donate to our emergency appeal to help us get essential resources to the most vulnerable.

Durable plastic sheets – £5 is enough for one 50metre sheet to cover a fallen wall and repair the roof of one home.

Warm Blankets – £7 will help keep those sheltering in feeding centres and schools warm.

Five Iron sheets – £15 to cover one broken wall while the storm passes.

Ten Iron sheets - £30 enough to re-roof the whole house when the storms end.

Emergency feeding:

Joshua feeding centres are ideal locations for community feeding during this crisis and especially while primary schools are closed. We will be widening our feeding program during this emergency to ensure that children, young people and their families are getting at least one hot meal a day.

Nutritious meal – Feed one child for one day for 90p

Feed one child a nutritious meal for a month - £25

With the bad weather set to continue for the next 2-3 weeks, and more torrential downpours expected over the coming days this is our immediate response to the disaster. We are working on a long term response to deal with destroyed homes, lost crops and the potential long term food emergency this catastrophe may cause.

Thank you for your support, 100% of all donations received will go directly to helping those worst affected.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Tell them we are over the moon!

Joshua Trustee David Pearson has been working hard to complete a footbridge over the Mudi River and we are delighted to announce that it has now been completed. The Manyenje footbridge has been funded by Sherborne Castles Rotary Club. We would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to the club and all its members for their incredible support. 

The Manyenje footbridge will transform lives during the rainy season by providing easy access to Manyenje Village year round. This will enabling villagers to safely use local schools, health facilities, financial services, churches and maize mills.

Speaking when the construction site was visited, the Village Headman of Manyenje was all smiles that a second bridge had been completed on the south-western side of his village after the first one (a road bridge) was constructed a year ago by Sherborne Rotary Club in collaboration with a Malawian Rotary Club. “As you can see, my village is an island and once the Mudi River swelled up during rainy season, this village was inaccessible. No one could neither go out of it nor come into it. Now everyone would have free mobility”, said Village Head.

How will this footbridge change lives? Manyenje Village is surrounded by three primary schools and two secondary schools. In order to get to school children from Manyenje have to cross Mudi River. Attending school became erratic and dangerous during the rainy season as it was dependent on the water levels in the river. As a result children often missed days or weeks of school and fell behind their classmates.

The bridge will also benefit people living in the surrounding villages, as children from villages in the western part of this region can now get to the newly built Manyenje Junior Primary School and Under-Six Feeding Centre much easier.

“The bridge will improve the livelihoods of people in Manyenje Village and all surrounding villages. It has been completed timely when the problems of crossing Mudi River were about to start at the onset of the rainy season. Everyone in the village is very happy with the development,” said an overjoyed Mai Kambila, a Caregiver at Manyenje Under-Six Feeding Centre.

The Village Head Manyenje concluded praising Joshua as quoted, “my village has become a town overnight. I now have a primary school, an under-six feeding centre, a teacher’s house and now, a bridge. Thank you Joshua! Please, send our gratitude to the donors. Tell them we are over the moon!”

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Sylvia awarded MBE in New Year's Honours list

Sylvia Avgherinos, Joshua's Executive Director, was delighted to learn yesterday that she has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List in recognition of her charitable works in Malawi.

She is pleased to accept this honour but acknowledges it could not have been possible without the physical and ever-needed financial support of family, friends, volunteers and followers.

Thank you to everyone who makes it possible for us to bring joy and hope to the vulnerable in the hillside villages around Blantyre.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

We Kicked of Christmas Early

On the 30th of November Joshua kicked off Christmas early with its fun-filled Christmas party. With music playing and wine flowing it was a fab opportunity for some off our supporters to catch up with old friends, meet new ones and share exciting tales of their travels to Malawi. 

Christmas gifts were bought and prizes were won making £657.50 for Joshua in the process. This money will be used in the communities where it is needed most and will go a long way to making Christmas that little bit more special in the villages we work in. 

In the midst of all the excitement we had speeches from Sylvia and our chairpersons Marjorie and David who thanked everyone for their hard work and support throughout the year. 

We also had a very special speech from the amazing Mike and James from key2africa who will be driving from the UK, through 20 countries to Cape Town next year to raise money for Joshua. 

All in all it was a fantastic evening and the perfect way to end the year and start the festive season. Thank you to all our staff and supporters for making it another great year for Joshua, we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy new year : )