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!

And the winners are …

The grand finals of this year’s sport competitions of Eva Demaya were held on October 29.
This year a total of 158 teams took part. The competition is very popular, with the netball tournament in particular enjoying a huge increase in popularity, the number of participating teams reaching an all-time high with 63 teams this year compared to 50 last year.
 
The teams are drawn from the whole catchment area of the Centre, which for the competition is divided in 4 zones, namely Hewe, Mwazisi, Luviri and Bolero. The teams in each zone play their own mini-league for both netball and football. Each league culminates in a zone final, with the zone winners then going on to contest the grand final.


 
 
 
 
The sport competition has grown so much over the years that it now takes serious organization and management to ensure its smooth operation.
Each zone has its own organizing committee and overall coordination is under the supervision of the Eva Demaya Centre. 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 together contributed to the excellent progress of the games. Trainers and coaches help their teams to improve their performance. Players put aside potential disagreements or solve them in a sporting way.
Great enthusiasm and fun was shown during the games. The matches and in particular the finals always attract a large number of spectators who are very involved in the games and the players and contribute greatly to the festivities with singing and dancing.
 

 
This year’s winners of respectively football and netball competitions are:
Hewe: Manchester Football Club and Katowo Rangers Sisters
Mwazisi: Chitanga Football Club and Galang’anda Sisters
Luviri: Fyolonga Football Club and Nkhozo Sisters
Bolero: Mwachilinda Football Club and JB Sisters
 

Extension secondary school

Extensive work is presently being carried out to expand the secondary school in the community of Kamphenda.
Until now, this school consists of only one building with two classrooms, which means the students have to leave and find another school after two years of education. Most of the young people are unable to attend a secondary school further away, so they do not take their education any further.
 
 

 
 
The building of this new school block is proceeding very well. The head builder, Bosco Zgambo, is very experienced and hard-working. He lived in Lilongwe for a long time but after the death of his wife he returned to his native village, Mwazisi, which is within the catchment area of the Centre.
 
 

 
 
The school building will have two attractive and spacious classrooms, with good windows, a ceiling, a small storage room and will be equipped with electricity. Craftsmen are now working on the plastering, painting, and laying of cables. The blackboard is quite remarkable because it is made entirely from brickwork.

Now that the Kamphenda school is almost ready, the students in Kamphenda will soon be able to complete their secondary schooling, which will improve their chances on the labour market. They are very happy with this promising perspective!

Remote community welcomes basic health care

On the Nyika Plateau, which belongs to the area of activities of the Eva Demaya Centre, live around 500 people. The main part of the plateau lies in the Nyika National Park, an area with a protected status. The park has a diverse wild life and a unique landscape with a specific flora, under which a large variety of orchids.
Only workers of the park are allowed to live on the plateau, together with their families.

A few years ago the Centre was asked if they could help to give the people of the Nyika Plateau acces to basic healthcare. Because the plateau lies very remote, the health care workers of the government refused to work there.
 
During several years the Centre has educated health care workers. In 2014 one of the volunteers, who were trained to be a community health care workers, came from the Nyika Park, his name was Bannet Kaonga.
Bannet lived on the Nyika Plateau and was part of the small community there. He took great interest in being a health care worker and he turned out to be a very good student. On the picture showing the succesful candidates from 2014, Bannet is in the middle, with the red shirt.
 

 
 
As from September 2014 Bannet is working on Nyika as a health care worker and in is treating diseases and disorders like malaria, diarrhoea and vomiting, stomachache, bronchitis, injuries and skin diseases, backache and so on.

 
 
 
 
Recently a German foreign aid organisation decided to build a new, small clinic for the community on the Nyika plateau, which was recently officially openend.
With this new clinic and the services of Bannet, people in the remote area of Nyika at last have access to basic health care nearby, which is of great value to all of them.

Sports competition 2017: finals coming up

The yearly sports competition in the northern region of Malawi has evolved into a tradition and is looked forward to by many people. Sport is welcomed as a diversion for all people in the villages, for the younger ones to participate in a team and for others to watch the matches and support the players.
Men play in the football competition and the women have a competition in netball. This year’s event is larger than ever: 98 teams have enrolled for football and 67 teams are playing netball. The teams all pay a small fee to contribute to the organizational costs.

The completion is spread over the whole district of Rumphi West. The district is divided into 4 zones , in which the teams of each zone play each other. Each zone winner qualifies for the finals, which are a great event each year.

Organizing the competition takes a lot of effort and communication. Each zone has its own committee that is responsible for the teams in their zone. The chairmen of the four commissions together form the main committee, which has its own overall chairman, Ackim Ndove. The main committee works closely with the management team of the Eva Demaya Centre, in order to coordinate and supervise all matches. The photo’s show a meeting of one of the zone commissions and a budget meeting with the main committee at the Centre. Also a part of a playing scheme from one of the zones is shown.
 
 
Besides all organizational preparations it is of course of great importance to come up with a good team and to train hard as a team. The teams are selected anew each season, and it is evident that everyone wants to have the best players from the community in the team in order to keep the honours of the village high. The photos show training activities and on one of them the teams are seen getting instructions from the referee just before the match.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Most participating teams find support in their own community to buy materials like shirts, shoes and balls. Some teams are lucky to have a specific sponsor, like the Eva Demaya football and netball teams, which receive funding from the Centre. As sports grow in popularity, it is easier for the teams to find support, inclusing financial sponsoring.
 
The competition is in progress now, with matches each weekend. Slowly the winner of each zone will reveal itself. So everybody is looking forward to the finals!
 

Mwanda children benefit from new primary school

On the border between Malawi and Zambia, forty kilometres west of the Eva Demaya Centre, is a high mountain called Mwanda. In the traditional culture of the Tumbuka people Mwanda is a holy mountain and is afforded great respect. The Malawians living at the bottom of this mountain decided eleven years ago to start their own primary school as the nearest school was too far for the children to walk to. Because of the long distance children started their education at an older age, dropped out after a while or didn’t attend school at all. Therefore some simple structures were made and volunteers were found to teach the youngest children in the community in Standards one to three, the first three years of primary education.

The school grew bigger and the number of pupils kept increasing. The community then started looking for funds to build a permanent school with solid, brick structures. Eva Demaya Centre was also approaced for assistance. It was like a miracle to the community when funds were found and the Centre informed them that one school block with two classrooms, two teachers’ houses and four improved pit latrines would be built.

The construction of the school started in July 2016 and Mrs Maggie Nundwe, an employee of the Centre, acted as the contractor. Mrs Nundwe organised the builders, carpenters and all necessary labourers. She organised the procurement, transport, storage and dispensing of all building materials. She even managed to significantly reduce transport costs of the building materials by negotiating with a supplier of building materials in Mzuzu with a branch in Katowo, which is only 12 km from Mwanda. During construction Mrs Nundwe stayed permanently at Mwanda and supervised all activities.
 

The community was extremely excited by the construction of the school and every day a lot of people came to help and see the progress. The community had already made enough bricks for the construction of the school. They helped with carrying sand and water and offered labour where necessary. The relationship between Maggie, the workers and the community was excellent and work went on very well.

As work had been proceeding so well and circumstances made the construction less expensive than budgeted for, it was decided to build a school block with three classrooms, three teachers’ houses, six pit latrines and renovation to the school office. The classrooms are spacious, fully cemented and with solid breezeblocks windows, providing an attractive environment for learning. The teachers’ houses are also spacious and offer perfect accommodation for the teachers.

 
The main construction of the school was finished within six months, just before Christmas. In January two visitors from Holland stayed at the Centre and so it was decided to open the school officially in their presence. It was a very festive occasion and even the rain that fell that day could not dampen the enthusiasm and happiness of the people.

The District Education Manager was the guest of honour during the function and he was greatly impressed by the beautiful structures of the Mwanda School. He promised that his governmental department would appoint two qualified teachers for the school as there was only one qualified teacher so far, who acts as the head teacher. The extra teachers from government have indeed been appointed and recently started working at Mwanda.

Because of the new structures at the school, Mwanda has now been made into a Full Primary School, which means that all eight years, from Standard one to Standard eight, are being taught there. This will significantly increase the number of children receiving proper primary education.

The beautiful, solid structures of Mwanda School, especially the school block, will offer the community a place to gather. So besides teaching, the classrooms will also be used for community meetings, for women or chiefs gatherings, for choir practice and for church prayers on Sunday. The nicely laid out school ground will now also be the sports field. The newly built school really has become the centre of the Mwanda community and for this the people are very proud and extremely grateful!

Certificate of excellence

The Eva Demaya Center is under supervision of the Malawian ministry of Health care. The Centre is submitted to inspections by the Ministry 4 times a year. Recently the Center was awarded a ‘Certificate of excellence’ for the PMCT and ART services they offer.
PMTCT means Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission. In this programme pregnant women are tested on HIV. If a women appears to be HIV positive, the Center immediately starts with medication to prevent the women to develop aids. The medicine also protects the unborn child to catch the virus and most babies are born completely healthy. n. The PMCT programme is executed in the maternity clinic at the Centre, during pregnancy checkups.

With Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) people with HIV/aids are treated with medicines. The Center has a dedicated ART-clinic with specialised nurses to execute to programme.

HIV prevention from the Center has caused a drastic decline in new HIV-infections in the area and with the HIV treatment infected people can live longer with higher quality of live.
It is very affable for the workers at the Center to see the results of their efforts and to get recognition for that with this Certificate of the government.

Note. Malawi’s HIV prevalence is one of the highest in the world. The Malawian HIV epidemic plays a critical role in the country’s low life expectancy of just 54.8 years.
Over the last decade, impressive efforts to reduce the HIV epidemic have been made at both national and local levels. New infections have dramatically declined and fortunately it also witnessed a substantial reduction in children acquiring HIV.
The Malawian HIV epidemic varies greatly across the country, with HIV prevalence in Southern regions of Malawi twice as high as Northern and Central regions. The catchment area of the Center has with 6,6% a relatively low percentage of HIV-infections compared to the national average of 10,3% (numbers from UNAIDS 2014).

Vocational training successful

This year’s vocational training have been closed. The to-be-tailors who were introduced to the readers in the recent newsletter, now are graduated, just like the young man who followed the education programme to be a tinsmith, bicycle repairman and carpenter
On October 15th the Centre organized a festivity to honour the students, in the presence of a large group of people.

students-with-management-large
The vocational training is repeated yearly and is one of the pillars of the Eva Demaya Centre. The 10 youngsters – four ladies and 6 young men – stayed at the Centre for 6 month and followed a fully tended training programme. At the closing of the program and after some final exams, Jacqueline handed over their certificate of evidence.
 
 
 
bicycle-mechanic-students-graduated-large
 
An important reason for the successful proceedings of their study, is the gift of a toolkit they each receive. Every vocational has it’s own tools, like a sewing machine, scissors, a tape measure and other indispensable materials such as fabrics and thread for the tailor and a complete carpentry outset for the carpenters.
With the tools available, the young men and women can now directly start up their own small business in their own village.

This year’s students were highly motivated, because they know all too well that the vocational training offered new chances to all those who already had the opportunity to be in the program in the earlier years.
The Eva Demaya Centre wishes them lots of good luck and success with their new vocation and finding a new (business)life in their community.

Rocket Stoves donated to schools

The Eva Demaya centre donated rocket stoves to three secondary schools, where student can stay in hostels.
A rocket stove is a iron cooking device with an built-in cooking pot. The device is constructed to use very little wood, and to produce very little smoke and yet have a hot fire.
 
 
Donation of Rocket Stoves at Bolero (3) (Large)A secondary school education is of great importance for Malawian juveniles to develop themselves to be economically independent.
In the catchment area of the Eva Demaya Centre 8 secondary schools can be found.
Each community is very proud of its secondary school and it is the community that takes care that the schools remain to function well. In Bembe inhabitants even built the school themselves and in 2 others places such an initiative is started.
 
 
Donation of Rocket Stoves at Bolero (4) (Large)
 
A recent trend is the building of sleeping facilities or hostels at 3 secondary schools in the area. Students who attend the school can stay on the campus, so they do not have to undertake the long foot walk home on a daily basis.
But internal stay also implies taking care of 3 meals a day for the students. Until now the meals where prepared on an traditional open wood fire, whit a cook pot on three stones with the fire in the middle. This way of cooking uses much wood, which is both expensive and corrodes the environment.

The schools who now exploit the rockets stoves react enthusiastically: the board is happy because costs are lowered, the work needed for cooking is more easy now and students appreciate the meals. Large winners are the health of people and the environment due to the decrease of erosion and less production of carbon dioxide.