Some more photos......

Chief of Chimenye and local chief of chiefs with Dion (in the striped shirt) who assists MSP locally 

Coronavirus in Malawi

Malawi has been one of the latest African countries to report coronavirus cases, all said to have involved people returning from the UK.  It is one of the the least able to fight the disease. The government has closed the schools, urged people to work from home where possible, and banned public meetings of 100 or more, and the president and ministers have taken a pay cut to fund health work.  Information about the disease is available on radio and television, and online. But most of the people we work with in Mpasa have no access to modern forms of communication.  And exhortations by the government to keep apart and begin rigorous hand washing mean little in a community where people live in cramped, overcrowded homes and often cannot afford soap to wash themselves and their clothes, let alone indulge in hand washing repeatedly during the day.

All of the children we support are from poor homes. MSP’s trustees and I have taken the decision that we cannot leave these families completely without help.  We have initiated a modest public information campaign in the villages nearest to Mpasa, and we have provided funds for the chiefs to distribute soap to the poorest of families, together with an information leaflet produced by the secondary school.  So far 150 families have been helped in this way. Distribution to the poorest of the children at the secondary school will begin tomorrow.

Soap paid for by MSP

Awaiting distribution

The chief of Timu village distributing soap

2020 developments

I’m sorry to have been silent so long. All the work we have initiated in Malawi continues. Our new school blocks were completed long ago.  And for the past year we have concentrated on paying school fees and providing support for the almost 100 bursary students at Mpasa Community Secondary Day School, providing incentive prizes for the children at primary school, and providing books to the Mpasa reading circles. Unfortunately the wonderful English lady I recruited to work for us in Blantyre in June last year became seriously ill and left Malawi for good in December.  She had done 2 follow up reports for us, and had great ideas for taking things forward.  Since then I have had 2 abortive attempts to get to Mpasa to pick up on further projects, stymied by illness, weather, and now of course coronavirus. As soon as I can get there and establish our future programme, you’ll be the first to know! And in the meantime our regular support for schoolchildren will continue.

Flood disaster relief

The children at St James's School, Coldwaltham, with whom I have set up a pen pal scheme with some of the children in Malawi, have been worried about the children in homes affected by recent flooding. Together, they have raised over £150 specifically for flood relief. I am bowled over by their generosity, their concern and their initiative.  Thank you everyone at St James's School! 

Thomas and St James's Headteacher
Thomas, whose picture this is, raised a substantial amount on his own through a sponsored walk. Thank you Thomas!

It costs £25 to provide a family who have lost everything with emergency supplies - bedding, clothes, some food, and temporary shelter. So the children have directly enabled 6 families to receive much needed help. What a wonderful result!

Together with donations from other well wishers I have now been able to send a total of £500 direct to disaster relief contacts in Malawi.  If you would like to channel much needed funds through me, direct to contacts on the ground, please email me at

Some pictures of furniture too

In autumn I commissioned some school desks for Mwanazanga. The school has no furniture. The carpenter is being a little slow (!) but so far he has made 22, and he has finally delivered them to the school. They're integrated benches and desks, and each one seats 3. The next batch is under way.

Desks at the carpenter's awaiting despatch

A desk en route to the school, and some of them in use

Another school block

I have changed my contact arrangements in Malawi this year, and photos have been a little bit slower in coming as a result but here, finally, is our 3rd block at Mwanazanga School, taken just before the beginning of the current term. I'm really looking forward to seeing it. We bought better paint and more cement this time, so it should have a much better finish than our first 2. And this time we have added ramps. There is one child at present with a wheelchair, and of course there may be others in the future.

The 3rd MSP school block at Mwanazanga School

Sanitary pad training!

I wasn't there to see the training first hand, but thanks to MSP almost 300 girls at Mpasa Community Day Secondary School now have their own set of washable sanitary pads, and the skills to make more. Girls typically stay away from school when they're menstruating. A remarkable Malawi lady, Enelless Pemba, has designed a set of comfortable, reusable pads, and has established her own business, training girls to make them for themselves. MSP funded 2 days of training, and all the materials, for the CDSS girls. There are a couple of photos below, and a full set of photos from the MSP CDSS training project here.

Enelless and the wonderful purple fabric