Vocational training in progress

At the Centre the 2020 vocational training has started.
Due to the current situation regarding the Covid-19 virus, some extra measures are in place, but the management at the Centre is very pleased she can offer the vocational training also this year.

In total 12 young people will be trained in a profession that gives an opportunity to earn money. There are 2 people extra this year because there were two vacancies last year. The current students are selected from different villages, mostly because they missed education in their childhood, due to poverty or family situations. The current students are between 19 and 30 years old.


 
 
 
 
The 12 students (6 girls and 4 boys) are being trained in tailoring (6), bicycle maintenance (4) and in ICT (2). The training for bicycle repair takes 3 months and will be given two times for 2 students each.

An innovation this year is the selection of a new discipline. The training for ICT skills is added in order to empower the youths in rural communities to apply these new skills in favour of themselves and their community.
 
 
 
 This training is the first that is given by an external, small commercial company in Bolero, which is about 10 kilometres from the Centre. Two young women follow the courses and accommodation in Bolero is arranged for them for the duration of the courses.

This training program is really breaking new ground for the girls, who come from the rural areas where electricity is not available at all times. They both have not worked with computers before and they will be trained in basic knowledge in operating a PC and in office programs as Excel and Word. It is expected that the training will provide a good outlook for a job for them.

The training programs are progressing well. Two students who suffered from malaria were absent for a short time, but now they are recovered and back on track. Both instructors and students are well motivated and work hard to get the best out of the coming months.

The Centre prepares to Covid-19

To fight the worldwide outbreak of the Coronavirus, almost all countries in the world take measures. This is also the case in Malawi. Jacqueline gives an update of the situation in and round the Eva Demaya Centre.

The Malawian government gave orders for a complete lockdown in the middle of april. Currently there is no complete lockdown in place, but people have to keep social distance. Social distancing rules are in daily practice difficult to keep, for the larger part of the population.
As a consequence of strict rules for public transportation, only very few people are allowed in minibuses and taxis, so prices of public transportation have risen enormously. All schools are closed as well as the lodges in the nature resorts. Almost no foreigners are left in Malawi.
Businesses and trade have also come to a complete stand-still, because working from home is very unusual in Malawi. Shops are mostly open, but there is little activity. Only the daily trade of fresh food is going on. It is a positive coincidence that people in the villages just harvested their crops, so there is no instant food shortage.

Not many infections with the Coronavirus are known in Malawi, but some official cases where reported in the north. It is expected that the numbers of infections are much higher in reality, because of the very limited testing that is done.
The hospital in Mzuzu is one of the few places where testing is possible.
The Malawian government and health systems have no capacity and possibilities to treat the Covid-19 affections. The official advice for health centres like Eva Demaya is to send patients with Corona-like symptoms to go home in self isolation.

The Eva Demaya Centre prepares as wel as it could to the outbreach of Covid-19 and to the announced lockdown. A large amount of medicines and medical equipment has been purchased. Also extra materials for the building project of the Luvirischool was purchased.

Another thing to anticipate is the fact that travelling is officially not allowed, except for essential (health)services, like the Centre is. All employees off the Centre have been provided a letter with their own data and the explanation that they travel for work. The employees of the Mzuzu office can work from home, occasionally.

The work on the Centre itself continues to go well. It is quite busy in the clinic, bot with Coronapatients, but with Malari patients. Usually the clinic is provided with a standard medicin for Malaria by the government, via the Rhumpi hospital. These medicins are free of charge prescribed to the malaria patients.
Currently thes medicins are not supllied anymore, with no explanation of the government. This means the Centre used its own resources to purchase malaria medicins. Unfortunately, these medicins are more expensive and patients have to pay for them. The self supply sofar goes quit well, and the Centre managed to realize a small stock with these medicins.

The Centre also took some measusres against the virus. The maturnity has closed and weekly Vimbuza dances have stopped. In the villages the sport competition is postponed.
The vocational training is likely to start as planned, this training is on a small scale and can be realized with the necessary distance.

Vocational training 2019

This year the feastly graduation ceremony for the students of the vocational training was held in the end of November.
Only eight students this year, because 2 of the young women in the tailoring training dropped out (on because of illness and the other for dishonest behavior).
Besides the vocational training in tailoring, there was only bicycle repairing, for in total 6 young man.
 
 
 
 
 
Every year Eva Demaya Centre offers vocational training to 10 orphans and vulnerable youths. This training offered is an exceptional opportunity for the chosen trainees to learn a profession which gives them the possibility to set up their own businesses. The training equips the students with skills and knowledge in order for them to be self-reliant with the skills gained. After the training, the professional young men and women offer their vocational services to the community who then in their turn benefit. The vocational training programme of the Centre assists indirectly well over 500 people from the communities from which the identified youths are trained.


One of the reasons why the vocational training is so successful, is because the students also are trained in organisation management. During one week there are several lessons in business economics and bookkeeping, marketing, and running a business. Another key success factor is the donation of a complete set of business attributes needed for the new profession of the students. This makes that the new business can start right after the vocational training is ended, when the young people have returned to their villages.
 
 
This was the first year in which no training for tinsmithing and for carpentry was given. Next year these vocations will be back in the programme. Also two extra youngsters for the tailoring training will be selected.

Finals of football and netball competition of 2019

The inhabitants of Northern Malawi cherish the tradition of sport events of football and netball. Each year the new competition is welcomed with joy and eagerness by the young people in the villages.In the dry season – when people cannot work in het fields – the sport competitions are a good distraction for younger people, who can stay active in a positive way. Some of them have the luck to be ‘scouted’ to work for an organization or club and can generate some income with their sport.
 
 
 
This year a total of 117 teams took part, 79 for football and 38 netball teams.The teams are drawn from the whole catchment area of the Centre, which for the competition is divided in 4 zones, namely Hewe, Msazisi, Luviri and Bolero.
The Eva Demaya Centre also delegates some teams from those working at the Centre, to the zone of Luviri. The teams in each zone play their own mini-league for both netball and football. Each league culminates in a zone final, which delivers the zone winner for the current year.

The 2019 winners of the football and netball competitions, respectively, are:
Hewe: Katowo Rangers and Katowo Rangers Sisters
Mwazisi: Lusani FC and Galang’anda Sisters
Luviri: Chirambo FC and Chankhomi
Bolero: Mbonekera FC and Mkama Sisters

The sport competition has grown so much over the years that it now takes serious organization and management to ensure its smooth operation. As an indication all teams play each other both at home and at the opponents home, which in total needs sometimes 400 matches in only one zone, to be played in 6 months time.
Each zone has its own organizing committee. The chairpersons of these zone committees collaborate in the main committee, in which also staff members from the Eva Demaya Centre co-work. All participating teams pay a small contribution towards organizing costs. The remaining costs are provided by the Centre with the support of its sponsors.
 
 
This year again, the organisers, players, trainers and coaches and referees together contributed to the excellent progress of the games. In one of the zones the final match was after prolongation and penalty’s after sunset still undecided. Referees decided to have the teams play an extra match, which delivered in the end the seasons winner

The matches and in particular the finals always attract a large number of spectators who are very involved in the matches and the players and their supporters contribute greatly to the festive character of each match.

With a little help, water for growing maize

Canaan Mkandawire used to be an employee at the Center, but is a farmer nowadays. He started growing maize, in the dry season. With a simple electric water pump that took diesel, he pumped water from the River to a pipeline that irrigated the maize on his land.

 
 
 
 
Unfortunately the pump was old and stopped working after a short while.
Canaan then asked people at the Centre whether they could help him. That request was honored, while he had already made al the preparations for the irrigation system, and the only missing object was a new pump.
So Canaan received an amount of €95,- from the Centre from their resources for community assistance and he consequently ordered his new pump.

His maize has grown well and he has resulted in a good harvest.

Canaan works as a ‘lead farmer’ in the area, which means that his methods for cultivation of the land and the growing of products can be seen as an example for other farmers. The purchase of the water pump to assure irrigation of the land can be seen as a good practice for other farmers in the neighborhood.

Baarnsch Lyceum donates school desks

In May a total of 50 school desks have been donated to 3 different secondary schools in northern Malawi.

The funding for buying these desks came from the Baarnsch Lyceum in the Netherlands, where students organized several actions to raise funds for charity purposes during Christmas time last year.
Their donations to the Stichting Eva Demaya was directly transferred to the Eva Demaya Centre in Malawi, where the Administration Office facilitated the purchase and transportation of the desks to the chosen schools.

De desks were purchased from Mapanga Furniture in Blantyre, who is the main supplier of school desks in Malawi. They have desks of good quality. One desk seats two students.
From Blantyre these desks were delivered to Mzuzu Administration Office and thereafter transport was organised to deliver the desks at the Centre in Rumphi. The Centre organised transport to deliver the desks to schools in Bembe (20 desks), Mwazisi (20 desks) en Lundu (10 desks). These schools were selected upon seeing that some students were sitting on the floor due to inadequate desks.
Needless to say the students and teachers are very pleased with the new furniture, which will certainly contribute to better learning results and to a better physical health of the students.

Eva Demaya Centre coordinates food distribution

In the catchment area of The Eva Demaya Centre a food shortage was unavoidable after last year’s crop failures in some regions. Malnutrition gives high risks on diseases and infections to occur, especially for elderly and sick people and for children. It is a large challenge to break this negative loop.
From December 2018 the Eva Demaya Centre targeted hunger prone areas like the Nkhamanga Valley, some areas that are in boundary with Vwaza game reserve and Nyika National park. In these areas communities are mostly affected by elephants that destroy crops during and after harvesting season.
In addition to this the vulnerable households were targeted most in need due to drought.

Eva Demaya Centre works closely with local structures like Community Based Organizations (CBOs) and Village Development Committees (VDCs) to select the targeted groups and the beneficiary, vulnerable households, including single parent or child headed households.
The exercise supported about 40 CBO’s and VDC’s, translating to almost 4600 people who received maize relief. Each CBO/VDC received 10 bags of maize. One bag of maize was shared among 3 people.
Maize relief distribution exercise was done in two phases in hunger months of January to March 2019. Project coordination was done by the Social Welfare Officer of the Eva Demaya Centre, Mr. Ephraim Kanyimbo.

The logistics to purchase and distribute the Maize , was a major operation. Firstly, staff members went to different communities with large(r) quantities of maize readily available to purchase some of their maize.
The Centre’s cars and motorcycles played a major role in transporting staff members to their meetings in both the providing and asking villages and also for transporting purchased maize to the stores at the Centre.
Due to poor roads, these cars and motor cycle have to undergo maintenance frequently, to keep them in good condition for continuous delivery of services in a safe way for drivers and passengers.
The actual distribution of maize from the stores of the Centre to the different CBO’s and VDC’s was done by lorries. The lorries were hired from a local transporter, and this distribution went well.

The Eva Demaya Centre sincerely thanks the Eva Demaya Foundation in the Netherlands for funding this important part of activity at the Centre. The assistance has gone a long way serving numerous lives of vulnerable people, particularly children who would have been malnourished and it has helped people to actively participate in developmental activities.

Vocational training students graduate

On Saturday December 1 the Eva Demaya Centre organised a graduation ceremony for the ten young people, six boys and four girls, who had completed their vocational training, which is a successful programme of the Eva Demaya Centre

This is the 13th successive year that the programme has been operating, with a total of 130 teenage boys and girls, all of them orphans, being helped since the start of the programme.
The program traditionally trains the young people in 4 very useful skills: tailoring, carpentry, bicycle repair and tin-smithing. For the tailoring (4) and carpentry (2) students the course lasts six months and for those learning bicycle repair (2) and tin-smithing (2) it was a three-month course. What was very special about this year’s training was that the Centre has trained the first female carpenter, Pyera Chisale. (At the picture top row, second from the left.)

The young people can secure their future with this training and with the starter packs of tools and materials they are each given at their graduation. They expressed their delight and gratitude to Eva Demaya and its donors with a joyful performance of dance, songs, speeches, drama and poetry, as is the custom.

Sharp rise in malaria cases keeps Eva Demaya clinic busy

In the last few weeks there has been an enormous increase in the number of malaria cases in Malawi. The Eva Demaya Centre’s clinic has a reputation for always having good stocks of the necessary test kits and medicines to treat malaria, and people have been coming in large numbers, by bicycle, on foot, in oxcarts, or carried by a family member, from all parts of Northern Malawi to get treatment. Often they come to the Centre after finding that there are no test kits or medicines available at their local hospital.
 
 
As a result, the dedicated medical staff has had to work flat-out, often till late in the day. On some days they treat more than 100 patients, many of them young children.

The support the Centre gets from her donor base allows them to be well prepared for such emergencies and thereby to save many lives. They We have efficient systems for ordering and supplying of medicines, and a dedicated team of medical personnel in place at the Centre doing their best to reduce the misery caused by malaria.

The populations we are able to help in this way are grateful, and we in our turn are most grateful to our donors for making our work possible!

Vocational training responds to needs of communities

For the 12th year in a row ten young men and women followed the vocational training at the Eva Demaya Centre. In 3 to 6 months these young people are trained to become an independent professional tailor, tinsmith, bicycle repairman and carpenter.
 
 

 
 
 
 
The students are selected by the people in their own community. After the training they will return to their village to practice their new learned profession. This way a win-win situation is created: the young people have a good perspective to become economically independent as a professional worker and the community can profit from the services they offer.
 
 
After delivering their ‘masterpiece’ as proof of fitness, this year’s training was closed in November with an festive activity at the Centre. All participants receive a certificate which indicates they successfully followed the vocational programme at The Centre.
All students receive the coveted starters kit, which contains a basis set of tools and materials for their own discipline. This makes it possible to directly start their small business without the need for investing in inventory first.
 
 

 
 
The vocational program at the Centre ran its 12th year so up till now 120 young people has a solid foundation to develop themselves to become economically productive and independent but also to grow as a person. All these years the vocational program has been very succesfull and is very much appreciated by both the young people and the communities.
Expanding the program to train more people is not possible because the centre is limited to offer the young people housing during the program.
 
For next year’s vocational training a small change will be made in the selection and assignment criteria: the young men and women can freely choose the profession they feel fits them best, the traditional division in men’s and women’s jobs will be abandoned so Eva Demaya hopes to welcome the first female carpenter!