Kids in Kasongwe and their teachers are very happy with their new schoolbuilding and houses for the teachers, that were built with fundings of the Adventsaction of 2013.
Building the school in Kasongwe was one of the projects of the Adventsaction of 2013, that was held under the supervision of Cordaid. The project of the building of 2 classrooms and housing for the teachers started as an initiative of the parents of the schoolgoing children in Kasongwe and the project is put to a good end because of narrow collaboration of the community and the assistence from the Eva Demaya Centre. Read more on the progress in building the school somewhere else on this site.
In April this year the building of a primary school in Kasongwe started, as a project in which the local community and the Eva Demaya Centre closely work together.
Kasongwe is a rural area in the Nkhamanga Valley in Rumphi District in the northern part of Malawi.
In this area there are 13 villages, with an estimated 3000 inhabitants, 50% of them below the age of 18.
The nearest primary school for the youngest children was too far away for them to walk every day on dusty sand roads in the blistering heat or on muddy roads in the pouring rain.
The community decided to build a school themselves and to attract volunteers to teach the young children.
The funds that were donated by Cordaid from the Advent action last December now make it financially feasible to build the two classrooms and houses for the teachers. The Malawian government has promised to provide the teachers for the new school.
The building process is lengthy. In April people of the community started with the firing of the almost two hundred thousand bricks that are needed. The Centre assists them in the supply of wood for firing the bricks; this comes from a plantation, so that the local trees are not cut.
At the same time the digging and making of the foundation for the new class rooms has started. All rooms will be provided with a cement floor, plastered walls, and cement seats for the children to sit on.
The organisation and supervision on this project is operated by the Centre’s manager. The Centre also takes care of the logistics (purchase and supply of materials) and administration of the project.
The wages for the two builders and four workmen are paid out of the donation of Cordaid.
Volunteers from the village contribute with the firing and carrying of bricks and by providing accommodation for the builders and cooking for them.
The Kasongwe community is very grateful for the construction of this school building and they look forward to having their children attending primary school at a normal age every day.
Last year the mais crop was very small due to the early end of the rainy season in the previous year.
Mais is the daily food of all the people living in the area of the Centre, bur after the very bad harvest there was not enough food to survive until the new harvest. The situation in the catchment area of the Centre was so severe, that the World Food Programme (WFP) helped the people with the distribution of tons of mais and beans.
Despite the help of the WFP there were still many people who are in dire need of food assistance. Thanks to extra donations from the Netherlands, Switzerland and Scotland the Centre has been able to distribute 6000 food packages between November last year and March this year.
A food package contains four kilo flower of corn, half a kilo soya and half a kilo flower of peanuts. With this mixture of flower a very nourishing porridge is cooked. Food parcels are distributed to individuals who are not able to take care of themselves and who did not get any help from the WFP. This mainly concerns single elderly people, orphaned children, disabled people, AIDS-patients and other seriously ill people.
Selection of the most needy people was arranged by the communities themselves, in public meetings. The workers of the Eva Demaya Centre took care of the delivery of the packages to those selected. The gratitude of the recipients was large, the food aid helped them to overcome the difficult period of food shortage.
In March this year the rain suddenly stopped in the area surrounding the Eva Demaya Centre. Drought prevented the corm in the fields from growing and ripening. Because of that the harvest has been bad for many people. Only a few months later, available corn is insufficient to feed the families.
Usually in situations of drought and food scarcity, the government and food aid institutions will help to improve the situation. This year the drought is only in a relatively small area and in that kind of situation little help form outside is offered. But without help, soon many people in our area will suffer from hunger. Especially children suffer when no food is available and it is heartbreaking to see them sit quietly on the ground with an empty gaze in their eyes. Also elderly and sick people are seriously struck by the food scarcity and not offering them help will be fatal to some of them.
The Eva Demaya Centre actively helps needful people with food parcels. For only 5 euro a family of 5 persons can be supported for 2 weeks. In our clinic a food parcel is assembled and distributed to very seriously ill people, chronically ill people, undernourished children and weakened elderly people. With this flower of corn, soya and peanuts they can cook a nourishing porridge. Food parcels are also distributed from the outposts of our policlinic.
This aid from the Centre gives hope to many people and makes a real difference in surviving the famine!
Because of the AIDS epidemic of the last twenty five years, there are a lot of orphaned children in the whole of Africa, in Malawi and so also in the catchment area of the Eva Demaya Centre.
Most of those orphans live with their next of kin. Most families take care of two, three of more orphan children, in addition to caring for their own children. The families try to provide the best care they can, but the extra burden is not easy to bear.
For many families it is impossible to pay school fees for the orphans in their care. Primary education is free in Malawi, but for secondary school children are asked to pay the equivalent of €15 per term. Besides this, money must be found for the school uniform and for (very basic) study materials.
Every year the Eva Demaya Centre supports 35 orphans by paying school fees for their secondary education. The pupils supported are selected by their own community following criteria established by the Centre.
As long as a pupil performs well at school, the Centre will continue to support her/him.
In the catchment area of the Eva Demaya Centre there are eight secondary schools and with the help of the Centre each of these schools has a number of orphans who are lucky enough to be able to study.
For this year’s orphan care support programme 12 young people have been added, with a roughly even split between boys and girls. The photos here show the pupils of Kamphenda (Washington and Brighton) and of Mwazisi (Esteris, Fidess and Efrida).
A 95-year-old woman in the Netherlands has knitted clothes for babies born in the maternity hospital of the Centre. These clothes are donated to mothers of newborn babies who can not afford to buy clothes themselves. Often these are people who work seasonally in wage labor, wich is the poorest population in northern Malawi.
The woman in the picture gave birth to her third child only a few hours before. She came to the maternity clinic with only a thin shawl for her baby. Grateful and proud she left home with her baby in knitted clothes.
In Chirambo, a small village about 8 kms from the Centre, we donated a desktop computer to the local secondary school there.
At the start of this year the village was hooked up to the electricity network. In May we were invited to the school as a guest of honour during the ceremonies marking the graduation of pupils.
The pupils had never once seen a computer, and the teachers remarked that some basic knowledge of computing would certainly help them in the work market. Shortly afterwards we managed to buy a good second-hand PC and donate it to the school.
Our gift was greatly appreciated.
Brian Smyser, an American Peace Corps volunteer, has managed to get funds from the American Embassy for our wood-saving stoves project. We have also been invited by the Embassy to come to Lilongwe with the young trainees who build the stoves (officially Trained Stove Installers) and there receive their end-of-training certificates.
The US Ambassador, Mrs Jeanine Jackson, handed out the certificates in person.
This was a tremendous experience for all these young people from around the Centre; none of them had ever been in the capital city before.