Keith’s Malawi Trip 2015

A brief glimpse in to FOMO in the last four weeks.

  • FOMO Independent Secondary School (FISS)
  • New Borehole (with video)
  • Pre (Play) School
  • Reconstruction
  • FOMO Clinic
  • Food
  • 5th July Fundraising Day
  • Sport
  • Paperwork
  • Distribution of clothes and things from the container

Facebook: Though we have been on facebook for a number of years, I have only now been able to fathom it out, so please check out our FACEBOOK: Fomo Malawi

100% of your donation will provide direct help to sustain and improve the children’s lives. Making that difference.


Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO) is a community based orphan care programme supporting over 4,500 children through a network of 14 centres in Mulanje district of Malawi.
FOMO Independent Secondary School (FISS) ______________________________

FOMO Independent Secondary School (FISS) celebrated it first passing out of the form 4’s this year. Like any parent, our expectations are that they will all do well and we wish them all the best for the future. The school is only in its 2nd year of operations and is running just over 50% capacity, but it hoped that over the next two years if funding, allows we will be up to full capacity which is between 400 and 500 students. At the moment we have a girls hostel with a capacity for 88 students, a boys hostel is urgently needed. There are still many challenges ahead, but with your continued support we can give the children a future.IMG_1056

Staff meeting and some of the form ones in class. IMG_1642OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

New Borehole at FOMO Mikoko ___________________________________________

Clean water is essential to everyone, so it is with great pleasure that with a kind donation from the Soropitmist’s of St. Helens, UK we were able to fund our 15th borehole. This might seem few over the 15 years we have been operating but to the thousands of people it has helped it  means everything. Enjoy the video as we have the first water coming to the surface. The more we have, the more we can do.

Tap the image to play the video, if it does not play change setting to HDON
Above FOMO video is 2 min long


PRE SCHOOL _________________________________________________________

FOMO runs 14 pre (Play) schools, the numbers range from 20 children to 75 children in the schools. The facilities vary considerably from centre to centre, but each school provides food and early learning for the children. In addition we provide clothing and other essentials. The schools are open to all children between 2 and 5 years – but they we do need support to pay for the food – teachers allowances and to provide better facilities such as toys and play grounds, (Swings, slides etc)

I was unable to get around most of the centres due time constraints, but remember though we have buildings a 5 centres, most centers are only simple bamboo constructions some of which were washed away during the floods and reconstruction is tacking place slowly. We still need permanent buildings at 9 centres to act as community centres and house the play schools.



Reconstruction _______________________________________________________

Some of the centre reconstruction was only minor, but essential. At Kadawere FOMO centre the floods damaged the toilets and perimeter wall. Reconstruction was able to go ahead with a kind donation which also allowed us to bring electricity for the first time to the centre with all the advantages that will bring. We have done our bit we are just waiting for ESCOM (Electric Board) to connect us.

When I left the toilet block was almost finished, but look for other updates in the future.


Man down the hole digging the toilet, at the moment he is about 3.5 meters down, only a couple of meters to go then it will be brick lined, a reinforced concrete slab put on top the actual building, see above the almost finished building.


FOMO Clinic __________________________________________________________

The FOMO clinic has been operating for many years and providing services to the FOMO children and to the local community. Late last year the Clinic was registered as an HIV testing centre. Early this year we also became a ARV treatment centre. As part of this on going commitment to the community we are in the process of constructing an ARV treatment and education facility at the clinic. We have staff on training at the moment to deliver the ARV treatment and education. With HIV new cases mostly amongst the young running at 10% of the population there is still a lot to do. The clinic will never make money, but with your support it will save lives.


FOOD _______________________________________________________________

Food security is vital, and FOMO like many others were hit by the floods and missed the main crop of maize, this is a major problem and prices on the open market are expected to rise considerably over the coming months, making starvation a reality. Many including FOMO have planted cassava, but this will not meet the food shortage. FOMO has a small plot 2.5 hectares and are using it to the best advantage, by growing peas, cassava and as pictured chinese cabbage. This small crop helps to supply the school and FOMO centres nearby, but it nowhere near covers the food required to feed the 4,500 children in our care, staples like beans and maize are required in large quantities, 20 tones of maize which lasts about 3 month costs around £5,600, ($9,000). Beans are more expensive per tonne, but we also use less. The floods hit hard, but the media coverage was almost non existent, don’t forget Malawi people in the rural areas are in real trouble.

The long term solution is mechanisation, (Tractors etc) there is only so much that you can cultivate with a hoe and a watering can. We have the capacity and vision to make the change, what we need is the funding.

Girl in the picture, who followed me everywhere, is called Tally and is 3 years old. Hopefully we can give her a better future.


5th July Fundraising Day ________________________________________________

FOMO believes that some income should be generated in Malawi by Malawians. To this end we have a driving school, Maize mill and computer school which generates a little in Malawi. With incomes on less than a £1 a day, the opportunity to raise significant amounts is limited and your individual donations are an essential life line to enable FOMO, work to continue.  We are always trying, and last year we had our first fundraising day at our school in Malawi which was a great success and this year we are to hold another on the 5th July. There will  be all sorts going on games, entertainment, food etc.

The organising committee, drawn from the school, community and FOMO centre committees below is well on its way to finalizing the event. Why don’t you join hands across the world and organise an event for FOMO in July. Remember 100% of your donation (minus bank transfer charges) will go directly to FOMO work in Malawi. The UK trustees are not paid, but true volunteers – make 100 % of your efforts and donations count by supporting FOMO community care programme.


Sport ________________________________________________________________

FOMO believes that man/women does not live by bread alone and tries to help the children’s individual passions, be it art, music, drama, choirs, educational trips or sport

FOMO when it can will help to develop their interests. Like so many places sport brings people together to have some fun even for a brief break from the task of surviving the daily needs. FOMO over the years has developed and resourced many activities, football and netball being at the top of the children’s lists of fun things to do.

FOMO has at least one team in each centre, a team that plays in the school league and FOMO first team that plays in the southern region football league. We run a sports bonanza twice a year, all teams are welcome and we normally have around 50 teams both football and netball joining the two day events. FOMO with the local communities help provide training after school 4 days a week.

The under fourteens and FOMO’s Senior team both play weekly. In the past we have done very well winning or being in the final of both the local and southern region leagues.

FOMO can’t justify purchasing its own kit when people are so desperately in need of the basics, but many people have helped us with kit including KitAid, Tarleton FC and Mary’s favourite team Liverpool FC, (Other teams are also welcome) but we always need more kit including shin pads, sets of numbered shirts, boots and balls. FOMO helps to promote sport in the community and supplies kit and balls to teams other than FOMO that are struggling. We also help with registration fees and transport to games. Be a part of this, the  game is loved all over the world, and maybe one day FOMO will have a player in its national team.



Paperwork __________________________________________________________

To ensure everything is accountable and transparent, we all have to do the paperwork both in the UK and Malawi. The accounts are of course at the top of our list to ensure we give you the best value for money, but everything else needs to be done. A few examples: charity, vehicle, clinic school registrations, meeting and responding to the government’s  regulations, purchasing food, drugs and school materials, clearing the container, ensuring the general essential maintenance is carried out to the buildings, vehicles, meetings at the school, clinic, centres, TA’s, Chiefs, Government bodies, arranging internal staff training and the list goes on, planning and arranging visitors, though this is a bit hit and miss as many just turn up to have a look at what we are doing which is not a problem and if you are the area please drop in,  not forgetting collating information for the website in the hope that you can feel a part of this work that many have contributed to.



Distribution of Clothes and things from the container ________________________

A lot of effort by people collecting, packing and sorting of clothes, shoes and other items goes on in the UK. (See container list on our web site for things we need). Equally the sorting in Mulanje by our volunteers  normally goes on till well after mid night for distribution to a centre, and we have fourteen. Clothes, shoes, personal items like soap and toothbrushes/ paste, blankets and mosquitoes nets, (when we have funds) all have to sorted and packed to ensure that no child is left out.

Sorting and distribution happens throughout the year, but the main times are just before the cold season, (and it does get very cold) and just before the rains. Other items such as school materials are given out 3 times a year just before the school term starts. Sport kit is given out when required. Other larger pieces of equipment for the clinic and schools are handed over as soon as the container has been cleared. All in all it is a big job on everyone’s part for which we say big thank you.

Picture one of the football teams receiving some kit and shoes.


One of the 14 play schools – 75 children in this one