Christmas Hope for Sitima families with love from N4BW
N4BW has now provided Solar Powered lights and phone charging kits to 50 homes in the Sitima Area. These kits were priced beyond the reach of the people in Sitima who have no effective other source of light and therefore go to bed when it gets dark and this being the tropics, that is shortly after 6 o'clock!
N4BW has produced a finance scheme where people rent a unit for 51 weeks and then purchase with a final payment. Damian Wynne who has established the scheme said “We surveyed people in the villages to ascertain how much they could afford to pay per week for one of these lights. We then came up with a scheme to meet a reasonable budget. I had to write a legal agreement, have it agreed by the police, negotiate with suppliers and then select agents to work for us in, vetting the applicants, delivering the lights and making the weekly collections. Long experience in Banking and Business has paid off in getting this off the ground" "I was approached by a lady this morning so full of thanks that she has one of the lights. She jokingly said that the only trouble is that she is now staying up too late and is sleeping in in the morning. She used to be in bed by 7 and is now up till 9 but now told me that her Grand Children who live with her are now able to spend time in reading and doing their homework.
N4BW are providing a small subsidy on each kit and has funded the initial purchases but this scheme has established the principle of people being helped but also of them contributing. This means that they will value and look after what they have much more than if they simply receive a gift.
The weekly income which is being generated is paying the two agents who are working on the scheme and will purchase further lights for sale so that the scheme can help more people.
Damian said “this may sound like a small thing but it is a life changing thing to have light or the first time. If you don't think so, just try living without electricity for a day and experience how much your life shrinks"
Ed: We are very proud of the work Damian has done applying his skills from his career in banking to a major challenge in the developing world - and hopefully a sustainable solution that doesnt encourage dependency but which year on year boosts the lives of everyone in the village. He has also done sterling work in the High School teaching and researching a number of potential projects for N4BW
Thanks also to all the players of our 59club bonus ball game who have funded this project.
Simon Flint from Suffolk is N4BW's new volunteer teacher in Sitima for 2 years. Welcome on board Simon and thanks to VMM for their partnership in the support of this role. There will be more news from Simon as he settles into the community. He is pictured here with our Chair Andrew Clark (right) and founder Alice Davidson OBE
N4BW Committee members Bill and Jackie Neale from Warwickshire visited our projects in Malawi in Autumn 2015 and saw first hand the needs of the people and the progress so far. They were able to return and brief the whole committee on what they saw and enable us to take some key decisions. They made time to undertake a bit of awareness training and some targeted distributions of items to the poorest families.
4N4BW are very fortunate to have raised the funds (thanks to you all) and built Bessie's Place in Sitima Village as our volunteer House. We also built a training room attached to the house which can have a multitude of uses.
Thanks to an open garden fundraising event in Norwich in Summer 2015 which raised £500, we have been able to purchase some resources for the room. We hope that Luntha High School students can have an after-school home work club in the room.
Future uses of the room include courses for women, health education and small business classes.
Thanks to our Education Volunteer, Bridget Fenwick who is in Malawi (November 2015) and arranged the purchase fo the books etc
Monday May 25th join the Diocese of East Anglia's Cycle Pilgrimage to Walsingham. Leave from St John's R C Cathedral at 08.00 and return for a BBQ. Sponsorship/donations in aid of Network for a Better World's support for the victims of the flooding in Southern Malawi. Details from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Damian is pictured on a boat on lake Chilwa heading to the isolated village on the isalnd there on Sunday....
He continues the story:
" Wednesday and Thursday was back to the nuts and bolts with PE lessons at Luntha and also with lessons for the teachers in computing. I was again nervous about these as I am by no means a computer expert as any 7 year old in UK could observe. In the event, the base knowledge of the teachers was nil so the sessions went well and will continue in coming weeks.
We have now set up a Football league and a Netball league amongst the youth groups which Fr. Ernest leads on Saturdays. Both leagues have 7 teams in them. We have tried to get an 8th but have been unable to do so. I have therefore written home and asked whether my old teammates from the St Augustine's Darlington Team fancy a season of away games on bumpy pitches against mostly barefoot players. I await their response but I think I know what it will be. Ditto any netball playing ladies. The first games are due on 9th May but I am not 100% confident that they will happen as I am now learning that things very seldom happen to plan here. The youths involved are all very enthusiastic but had no equipment so I contacted some football contacts in Darlington and I have been able to get each football and netball team a ball and they are going to do some labouring and other work around their villages in order to produce an income for replacement balls and eventually strips. Middlesbrough Football Club have sent me some kit which is unfortunately still somewhere in transit. I am not sure what they have sent but it will be welcome whatever it is.
Luntha School also asked me whether I could help with the supply of sports equipment. They had a whole shopping list of what they need. When I retired from the Bank, the staff had a collection for me and I told them that rather than buy me a gift, I would like them to keep it till I found something of lasting use out here which they could fund. I have therefore arranged for two concrete Table Tennis Tables to be built. They are massively engineered and should be completed next week. I have bought 4 TT bats and a supply of balls which I will give to the school.
I have arranged a further Hygiene Session with a group of 10 Women and with Sister Catherine assisting. I got the buckets with the taps and the bowls in Blantyre on Monday and we are set to run it on Thursday p.m. I will let you know how it goes.
This week I have St Michael's School English lessons on Monday and Tuesday. I am also hoping to run an English Club over Tuesday lunch break to hold a discussion in English. I'm not sure whether it will happen and how many may turn up. Bridget, I will call in at the Teachers' centre and try and get the information which you asked for. I have PE and computer at Luntha on Wed. and Thurs. "
Angela Stone and Andy & Mary Clark are presenting information about their Easter trip to Malawi at St John''s Cathedral Norwich in the Narthex at 7pm. 29th April 2015 All welcome.
N4BW is looking for short term volunteers to travel to Malawi to do interesting and vital work. You would be based in our secure and well appointed volunteer house and be part of the charity's programme of developing the life chances of the local people. Read more about the opportunities and Damian's work there in Spring 2015 on our site here:
Aid to where it needs to be, as quickly and fairly as possible- a community approach by N4BW and our local partners
Floods: N4BW Urgent Assistance April 2015
Any reading of the passion narrative from this week moves me from my apathy. Intially taken aback by the violence and seeming inhumanity of the Romans and the Jewish authorities of the time and suddenly I am jolted out of that easy judgement. Isnt the world like this now? Dont we all know a Pilate and a Caiphas? Are we ourselves like that too. That for me is the most remarkable thing, that God chose grim reality, our own realities.
So we see that the story of Jesus' passion and death we are present at every level, in every character and painful act....because Jesus himself is truly present today also.
We are more than bystanders in the story. We are activists because he was human and we are too. His story is our story and although we know that hope wins over fear and pain- the journey through the cross is not an optional extra.
What we can choose is whether we are a simon of cyrene and help with the cross-carrying of others or are we going along with a crowd and shouting out. Or are we drunk on our own power? Are we broken by grief and denial like Peter?
In our N4BW values we know that Jesus Christ is present in and Lord of, all the stuff of life we see around us at home and in the Developing World. Our colleagues are in Malawi this Easter to celebrate with the people, with people who themselves know what it is to be scorned, to suffer and to die prematurely through no fault of their own.
We will dance with them this year joyfully on Resurrection Sunday and commit to walking with them, even in their suffering over the coming year. Happy Easter
Richard Owens, Secretary, N4BW
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