FOMO covers all aspects of the children’s welfare including health through our outreach clinic, formal and informal education, food security and production. The programme also covers pre-school, out of school activities and further learning through our play schools, computer, driving and tailoring schools. The programme also covers the provision of school materials, personal items (Soap, clothes, blankets, and mosquito nets) and community much more. The programme is run by a very small staff with over 200 local volunteers; our funds are raised by a small, but resourceful volunteer committee in the UK. FOMO provides direct aid and reaches out to many thousands of orphaned and vulnerable children, but we do need a regular source of funding and your personal donations are both valued and appreciated. FOMO established June 2000 is a registered charity in both the UK & Malawi.
Malawi orphans inspire Salford grad’s mountain marathons
A Salford University graduate whose trip to a Malawi orphanage made him realise ‘we’re all here to help each other’ is now embarking on THREE marathons to raise cash for those who inspired him.
And the go-getting marathon man, who has also quit his retail job to pursue a life teaching, isn’t cutting any corners in doing so, as he plans on tackling the three gruelling tasks in just three months to raise the £35,000 needed for the Malawi children.
Brendan Rendall will give the money to charity Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO) so they can build the art and science block of a secondary school in the south-east African country.
To support this worthy cause – one which has been close to Brendan’s heart since his first visit to Malawi back in 2008 – he will be running the Manchester Marathon on April 19, Windermere Marathon May 17 on, and a gigantic, mountainous 55km Ultimate Trail Challenge on June 27.
The 36-year-old, who is originally from Somerset, was introduced to the organisation through a friend.
He visited them in 2009 and was inspired by how the charity supports 5,000 orphans and is solely run by volunteers.
BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE: After his first trip to Malawi Brendan gave up most his belongingsHe told MM: “I was so impressed by the hard work FOMO have done and it was clearly visible that money was getting to the project.
“The children at the centres were so incredible. Behind the poverty and hardship there is so much hope and happiness.”
And this is not the first time Brendan has put on his running shoes to help those less fortunate than himself – in fact so far he has helped raise £12,000 for multiple charities.
It all began back in 2006 when he and a group of his friends, with absolutely zero previous long-distance running experience, decided to run a half marathon.
The group entered the Wilmslow Half Marathon and with a mere three months training and managed to complete the race in one hour 24 minutes.
MARATHON MAN: This is not the first time Brendan has put on his running shoes for charityBrendan said: “I hated it at the beginning but then something happened. I started to really enjoy it and in fact, it started to become slightly addictive.”
Addictive seems to be the right word as Brendan has since entered a number of races with his best time being one hour 21 in Blackpool back in 2007.
Not long after that, the hobby turned into a mission as he joined a team who were set to cycle across Malawi – little did he know this experience would change his entire future.
The turning point was in 2008 as Brendan cycled as part of an 11-strong team, visiting a HIV clinic, farming resource centres and orphanages in the African country.
When he came back to Manchester he realised how easy he had it compared to so many in the world.
He said: “The poverty was clear. Children were in rags with no shoes but they would run alongside us smiling and giving us high fives.
“Visiting the projects was completely eye-opening and certainly put so much into perspective.”
HOPE AND HAPPINESS: Brendan said the children he’s met show incredible resilience in though faced with povertyAfter this, in 2011 Brendan completed a 986-mile bike ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End in just 13 days, and topped it off by running the London Marathon the following day.
“The John O’Groats cycle taught me when you dig deep your mind can do incredible things – through the rain in Scotland and the hills in Devon, your mind can really push you on,” he added.
“I love the feeling of living in the moment, when there are no distractions, just the road ahead. It’s you pushing yourself and for me it defines being in the real world and living in the moment.”
From then onwards Brendan has taken on a ‘grab every opportunity’ approach to life and shortly after travelled to Thailand.
He also spent six months in India where he trekked across the Himalayas to South America where he then hiked Machu Picchu in Peru and spent two weeks travelling through the amazon.
He said: “All of these trips have made me realise that you don’t choose where or what you are born with but being born in the UK, we are so privileged. It’s given me such an appreciation for life.
“My job back home seemed pointless and I realised that we were here to help each other. My visits to Malawi taught me more about life, myself and humanity more than anything else.”
On his initial return from Africa, Brendan sold most of his belongings, he cancelled his phone contract and credit cards as material things became less important to him.
DO YOUR BIT: Brendan needs to raise £35,000 for FOMO to build an arts and science block for a school in MalawiHe added: “My first visit to Malawi has had the biggest impact on my life. I never really had any idea how much it would. The trip inspired and taught me that life is so precious.
“We have everything here. We live in a world where we become distracted by consumerism, greed and the desire for more.”
The marathon man has also volunteered at Rusholme’s Grange School, a school for children with Autism.
Although he had no previous experience in the teaching industry he knew he had to have a job which involved helping people.
He took a gamble and a pay cut and left his job in retail management to join the school full-time, where he stayed for two years.
He then became a support worker working with children with autism across Manchester for a company called Time Specialist, where he has been working for five years.
CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE: The marathon man realised after visiting Malawi that we are on this earth to help each otherIn September he starts a PGCE in Post 16 Special Educational Needs in Sheffield.
In the future Brendan aims to complete the Marathon des Sables – a footrace known as the toughest on earth as it takes place in one of the world’s most inhospitable terrains, the Sahara desert.
FOMO’s has 12 centres located across the Mulanje district, ranging from grass huts, small rural churches to purpose built facilities.
Their main focuses are improving health care, education and food security but they are involved in every aspect of the children’s lives in the community.
Summer in July – Pat Oliver a local author and play write has written and produced the first in a series of murder mysteries suitable for ages 12+.
The Mad Hatter Murder – Set in the idyllic, imaginary Cotswolds village of Paxford Priors. Twins Becky and Louise open the Mad Hatter Tea Shop. Viv is looking for new dancing friends when her Morris side the Dairy Maids folds up. Gemma is desperate to start a new life in the village. Students Elly and Molly just want something interesting to do in the summer holidays.
During one hot summer, Lady Lucy Percy leads them to mayhem and murder. Paxford Priors gets its first ever crime scene. Meet the men in their lives. A cozy setting, a good plot and a humorous read.
A series of three written in the British Cozy genre. Suitable for ages 12+
To purchase a book and support FOMO please email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org (P&P + donation) The full amount of the donation will be used to help the children in Malawi.
For further information about Pat and the mysteries books Click Here
23/01/2015: More maize has been delivered and is being distributed around the worst hit areas – This is all thanks to your kind generosity. Thank you. We still have many months to go, before things are even a little bit stable again, so please spread the word. With more we can do more.
We have set up a justgiving page Click Here 22/01/2015 – Let me report that we went to see T/A Mabuka. He welcomed us whole heartedly. After explaining to him our mission, he honestly told us that though all the villages in his area have been affected, but there is one village close to Mpala School known as Sonjeka, where the whole village has been washed away by flooded Ruo river. We went there.and found over 50 families taking refuge in Mpala School.
Their houses and fields completely replaced by what I should call a sea of sand. Besides this there also other families from neighboring villages also taking refuge in the same school. There are over 80 families at this camp. We were all speechless and could not believe what we saw. Now we have agreed to go there tomorrow. We are proposing to take 80 blankets, assorted clothes, flour and Nandolo. James is proposing 5 bags of maize flour. But looking at the situation at this camp I thought at least 15 bags if possible.
BRIEF REPORT ON AID TO THE FLOOD VICTIMS: 21/01/15 From James and Amos
We here by write to report on the aid distribution we had on the 19th of January 2015 as you guided us.
We started at around 6:00am organizing ourselves and taking people to the warehouse to start sorting the clothes. We also sent Mrs. Liphava and Fred to the mill so that we take flour and the grain to the people in need.
Having sorted the clothes we left Steven, Mrs. Liphava, Fred sorting out clothes for Phalombe side while We, Amos, James and Mrs.Saliya went to Nkando, Group Village headman MKalilima we managed to distribute clothes and forty blankets which we collected from Mwamadi and about 15 from the stores. On this morning we had no electricity and it was raining continuously.
Pictures: FOMO helping with Food, Clothes, Blankets and Mosquito nets
It was so challenging because in the process more and more people began to gather thinking that we were distributing these items to people who were registered by NGO and Government. The Village headman had to clearly explain that we were a different group all together. NGOs and government officials went around the villages writing down every house hold which was affected in one way or the other for example loosing property, collapsed houses, destroyed fields, blown off roofs among others.
In his remarks the village head concurred with the representative of the affected thanking FOMO for the quick and timely help.
In the afternoon we braved the persistent rains and we left Chitakale for Phalombe side. We loaded most of the staff on our truck and the ambulance carried clothes. We visited Mpambachulu School where a large number of families have sought refuge in this school. Other people were at Nthuluwe primary school and others were in a Roman Catholic Church near the school. The people had their homes and fields washed away by the floods. We were accompanied by T/A Nkanda and she was of much help in the whole process. We helped the people at these two camps with 20 bags of maize flour, blankets, assorted clothes, baby blankets, Mosquito nets and legumes.
However there is still need of more help. These people as repeatedly stated have lost all their belongings. Secondly, they have no homes. In addition some of them are school going children and are worried as their parents cannot afford meeting their education needs.
Picture: Maize Delivery – The people we worked with are, Steven; Blessings, the driver; Mwamadi Chair, Mrs. Saliya; Mrs. Ruth Kumwamba, Chair for Kumwamba centre; Mrs. Liphava; Fred, receptionist, Lawrence and Magalasi from FOMO mill, and another boy Sayison. We thank them all for their cooperation.
We also take this opportunity thanking the directors and all FOMO supporters for the help. These people have at least something to start with.
Update 19/01/2015 – FOMO helping out with food, blankets, clothes at Kalilima and Sadibwa villages in TA Nkanda – Mujanje
Am trying to send pictures. We have electricity problem. Network very bad, tomorrow we may not have electricity again. I WILL KEEP TRYNG – Amos
Update 17/01/2015 – FOMO has some resources on the ground which will distribute, but we still needs funds to help as many as we can.
From Amos (Head of FOMO School) and James (FOMO’s Accountant)
Dear Uncle Keith and Aunt Mary,
We write to inform you that the whole of this day we have been to some
places where people have been severely affected by the floods.
The first place we visited is Kalilima village T/A Nkanda, Mulanje (Close to Nkando trading centre). Several houses have been totally destroyed. However we focused on the village named above where almost all 15 houses have been washed away.
People need urgent help of the following basing items;
5. Mosquito nets
6. Cooking utensils
From there we went to Mpambachulu and Sadibwa village near Kambenje trading centre as you go to Phalombe. T/A Nkanda gave us her aid to escort us to these areas. Again here several houses have been damaged, but we were so concerned of the people whose houses have been washed away. Thuchira River has actually abandoned its usual course and cut through several villages. The people are housed in Pambachulu primary school and other schools such as Chazinga primary and others where we did not manage to visit because the road is totally damaged. About 265 families are camping in this one primary school. Men and women sharing different blocks. Saddening was the fact that these people have no blankets, mats to the extent that they use ragged mosquito nets as blankets. Some have what one could hardly call a blanket. They are afraid of Malaria outbreak as they have no mosquito nets. We
found a lady and a girl sleeping on a piece of timber without anything to cover themselves with. Yet they are sick.
They also urgently need basic items as above. You may wish to know that we are the first organization to visit these people since the flood took away their belongings they cherished so much.
We did interview most of the people including village heads but we did
not directly take their pictures.
We have set up a just giving page Click Here for donations or you can contact us directly via email email@example.com.
The southern region of Malawi including Mulanje is in the grip of unprecedented floods.
This will be familiar to many in the UK, but the consequences for the local rural mostly subsistence farmers, is deadly. They may have survived the initial, but the loss of newly planted crops and their food store from last years harvest will lead to famine and starvation. Add to this the lack of shelter, over flowing pit latrines, the loss of their few possessions, blankets, pots and plates and the immediate situation is bleak. There is no support structure and to mobilise the countries few resources will be too little too late.
Help is needed now and in the coming year to both feed and repair the damage done.
FOMO has not been unaffected by this disaster, with the loss of structures and total destruction of the crops that help to support the children. Nearly all our children come from rural families and their situation is still unfolding.
FOMO has raised a “Flood Appeal” to help purchase, plastic sheeting for shelter, food, plates, blankets and to support the children and their families over the coming year.
FOMO gives direct help and can react quickly, but we do need help at this critical time.
We have set up a just giving page Click Here for donations or you can contact us directly via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your time and assistance you may wish to give.
By: Oliver Simbota
BRIEF FAMILY BACKGROUND: My name is Oliver Simbota. I am a boy of 22 years. I am the last born in a family of 7 children (three sons and four daughters). My father died in 1997 when I was very young. My mother also died in 2003 when I was in standard 3 (primary level) followed by my elder brother in 2010. From my family, no one had managed to complete his or her education up to secondary or tertiary level like me. As a result of death of my father and mother, all my sisters got married early due to lack of support. All my sisters and brother depend on farming for their daily living. One of my sisters took me in 2001 to live with her though she was not working. I have been living with her from my childhood till today.
JOINING FOMO: I was very hopeless about my future before I joined FOMO. I realized that I have bright future when I joined FOMO in 2002. Throughout my primary school level, FOMO has been supporting me in various ways like providing food, medical treatment, clothes, soap, notebooks and pens just to mention few. During my stay at FOMO, I have been also learning many talents like playing piano and singing.
When I was selected to boarding secondary school to continue my education, FOMO did not stop there but to continue paying me school fees. Apart from school fees, FOMO was also providing things like pocket money, notebooks, blanket, mosquito net, travelling bag, school bag and much more.
FOMO has done a great job to my life and I can’t exhaust all the things which FOMO has done to my life throughout my primary, secondary and even now at tertiary level.
FULFILMENT OF MY DREAM: FOMO is now doing a great job to me by fulfilling my dream of becoming a Clinical Laboratory Scientist. From my childhood, I have been thinking of becoming medical personnel. I was not sure of which department in medical field I would want to be working but what I remember is that I was very curious about what makes people to fall sick. I was also interested in searching things and asking myself many questions.
Then I applied to Malawi Adventist University to do my first degree in Medical Laboratory Science. I like this course because I really know that I will assist the world in various ways. I really wish also to put FOMO CLINIC on map in terms of providing best services and to turn it into a hospital. I am now in second year of my studies.
SPECIAL THANKS: In a special way, I would like to extend my gratitude to Aunt Mary Uncle Keith and Sister Mary (Mary Petrofsky) for the massive support you are rendering to me for paying my school fees. I don’t want to take it for granted because I really know that there are many people who have failed to continue their education up to University level due to lack of money. I just want also to encourage you that please continue the work you have already started of paying me the school fees.
I want also to thank Sister Mary for the first aid classes you provided to me. The knowledge of first aid you put in me is really helping to many people around me.
Finally, I would like to thank FOMO UK as well as FOMO MALAWI for the support you give to me as well as other FOMO registered members. May God bless you all. Zikomo kwambiri (Thank you very much).
FUTURE PLANS: I am expecting to work at FOMO CLINIC as a laboratory scientist after finishing my degree in Medical Laboratory Science. I am also expecting to support my fellow orphans after my studies.
DURING HOLIDAYS: I assist at FOMO CLINIC during my holidays and conduct first aid classes to FOMO children across FOMO 14 centres around Mulanje district.
- If you wish to help people like Oliver, and we have many
- Please contact FOMO or Click here to donate
Having travelled to Malawi 3 times previously with Bay House School and Sixth Form, this summer I chose to travel independently to help the charity. I stayed with some friends I had made previously, and had a very full on and packed 5 weeks.
One of the main jobs I had was to teach in the FOMO Independent Secondary School. For a week, I worked with the standard 8’s as they revised for their entrance exams, often having 50+ children in each class. I taught Maths and Geography. Education is key to success in Malawi, and I felt honoured that I could be involved in their progression. Their eagerness to learn and English ability at that level constantly impressed me. I wish all my students at home where that good! I worked closely with my fellow teachers at the school, planning, marking and organising the examination day, and it was great to see the care they had for their students.
I also had smaller, but no less important, jobs to do during my stay. I travelled to centres in the afternoons, where Wilson and I registered children at each centre. This involved a crash course in Chichewa, and then taking the child’s details. After many afternoons of data collecting, and many more mornings of writing up the data, it really begins to hit home just how many children FOMO supports. Without the charity, were would they be? Possibly not in education, which every single child currently is. It was a very sobering experience, but one that showed just how important FOMO is to the children, and how is supports them throughout their life.
I spent many hours sorting in the stores, organising all the hundreds and hundreds of items that have been delivered in the containers. The variety of items that are delivered, and the usefulness of everything, astounded me. We then went to a number of centres to distribute clothes and soap. It’s the behind the scene action that enables FOMO to continue, something I have never really seen with Bay House. I also travelled to Naluwade Centre in the mountains to donate a wheelchair to a member of the community who was desperately in need. Without the continual support of the local community, this charity would also not be able to function as effectively as it currently does, and so to be able to give back to the community is important.
Before departing, I managed to secure a £500 donation from TURBOCAM, a company near me, as well as kindly donations of netballs and footballs. Whilst in Malawi, the financial donation was able to pay for the deposit and construction of 8 bunk beds for the hostel, which is vital for the safety of the girls. The building seemed to shoot up while I was there, progressing reasonably quickly, as the deadline was the 8th of September. This was due to the hard work of a small team of local builders who worked late into the night. The footballs and netballs were also greatly received, and I was privileged enough to travel with FOMO FC and watch them win 3 out of 3 games, as well as climb the magnificent Mount Mulanje with them.
FOMO FOR CHRISTMAS Giving gift certificates is an easy way of solving present giving and Walmer Bridge- based FOMO (Friends of Mulanje Orphans) is encouraging people to do just that. You’ll limit your shopping stress and enrich the lives of the thousands of orphans in their care in the Mulanje district of Malawi.
You might be forgiven for thinking an £8 gift certificate for a football can’t make a difference, but it will. A little goes a long way in Malawi!
There are four categories of certificate. Food covers beehives, chickens, a month of food or a year of food. Health options are blankets, mosquito nets, malaria treatments and doctor’s appointments. Educational gifts cover uniform, school shoes or a chair and desk. Mulanje’s young boys are good footballers and the girls keen on netball so balls and kit are warmly welcomed.
Gift vouchers range from £5 to £150. If you’ve more money to spend a bike gift is £80 and a hand-dug bore hole that would bring clean water to a whole community, £1,000.
- Football £5
- Malaria treatment £5
- Mosquito net £5
- Netball £8
- Blanket £10
- Chickens £10
- Doctor’s appointment and medication £10
- Food for 1 month £10
- Football/Netball kit £15
- School uniform £18
- Beehive £20
- School shoes £20
- Bike £80
- Food for 1 year £100
- Bunk bed with materesses £120 (NEW)
- School chair and desk £150
- Hand dug borehole £1000
For more information please Click Here
There are many bits of furniture we need for the new girls’ hostel like wardrobes, side tables, chairs etc which will have to have made when we get funding, but one essential item is beds, which I know aren’t regarded by some other schools in Malawi as essential, but its important to lift the children off the floor, so the bugs and creepy crawlies don’t join them in bed at night, not to mention the cold and damp. Part of hostel build plan was to provide bunk beds, mattresses, which could be enclosed in a mosquito net, so it was with great delight that the first bunk beds started to arrive. We now have 7, but need 44.
To help the local employment the beds are made in Mulanje and the basic frame is made out of hardwood. The supply of the beds is not great only, one a day, but with only basic hand tools and rough cut wood the situation is not ideal. FOMO did come to the rescue and help out a bit by providing some additional tools and equipment to help the job along and we have to thank those in the UK that have given the planes, hammers. chisels etc in the past, they do come in very useful.
FOMO needs 44 bunk beds, 88 mattress and mosquito nets at a unit cost of around £125 ($188 USD) Total £5,500 ($8,250 USD), we were kindly given our first donation of £500 ($750 USD) if you can give even a small amount to help us reach our targe it will be appreciated and the children can be kept safe.
I would like to make a donation, how? Answer Click Here
Studies have shown that in school-aged girls’ menstrual health ‘one of the most effective ways to deal with menstruation is to go home’. Due to the relatively high cost of pads against actual family income, girls will improvise with cloth, or bark tree lining, or mattress stuffing.
There are many high profile organizations, including the Malawi government talking about the need to help with female issues, but little is done for positive direct help. The Malawi government still insists on charging import duty on female sanitary products.
Afri sanitary pads are produced in Uganda and are a washable reusable pad and come in packs of 8. FOMO with its focus on direct meaningful aid, were delighted to receive a donation from St. Helens Soroptimists to purchase a number of these pads that have been given out free to the girls. From surprisingly frank, (they are quite happy to talk freely about, which goes against a common perception) feedback from the girls there are some minor issues which have been fed back to the supplier, but on the whole the product meets the girls’ needs and allows them to feel comfortable and confident while playing sport and going about their daily lives.
I would like to make a donation, how? Answer Click Here
Picture above: Finishing the main entrance to the hostel and installing the window glass.
The building of the girl’s hostel for the FOMO Independent Secondary School, (FISS) goes on at a steady rate. The target opening date was 8th September 2014, but as this is only two days away, I guess we have missed it, but on the up side the steps have now been finished (the picture is a week old). The glass has now been fitted and the painting is on-going.
Considering the late start, the size of the project and the difficulties of any construction in rural Malawi, everyone has put in a tremendous effort. It puts a new spin on it when you have to make your own bricks and dig the sand out of the river. Taking everything into consideration it is a great job done by Lypha, (projects manager), and the building crew, to whom we have to say a big thank you.
The final completion won’t actually be until the end of September, but the work outstanding is only cosmetic, i.e. outside pointing, fascia boards, general clean up etc. The building will be usable before then as the septic tank is almost done, we have water and electricity and the final fix is all done for showers and toilets etc.
There are still a couple of things that need major funding:
- The roof design allows for water collection on a grand scale to be used for washing clothes. Unfortunately the funding we had did not cover water tanks and guttering, the cost of this is around £1,600, ($2,500 USD), but we were stretched to the limit on the build, so if you can help we would be grateful.
- The Hostel needs beds, and we had a kind donation of £500 which enabled us to make 7 bunk beds (not including mattresses), but we actually need 44 bunk beds and mattresses.
Above are the two major items of funding needed, but its like setting up your first home, we also need 20 shower curtains, 50 lamp shades, curtains, curtain rails, cupboards and side tables and all manner of other small things. We are working hard to make it all a reality and every £1 helps.
Picture Above: 6 meter deep septic tank with soak away under construction
We are fundraising for a boys hostel, if you would like to contribute please Click Here
I would like to make a general donation, how? Answer Click Here
By Rosie Hill from Bay House School
Bay House School and Sixth Form have strong links with organisations worldwide; these links put Bay House on the map globally and it has a reputation of having international status. One of the strongest links Bay House has is a link with a charity based organisation called Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO) this charity supports 5000 orphans through a ever growing network of different community centres where the children are aided in all aspects of living. Malawi is the third poorest country in the world and has a massive resource shortage from food to basic building equipment for houses. This is why everyone is doing all we can to help this underdeveloped country. One of the ways we are helping is by sending a team of 8 students and 4 members of staff out each year, this year I was lucky to part of team Malawi 2014 from Bay House.
To be selected on team Africa meant that each individual had to raise the minimum of £1500 through fund raising, this covered the fight out to Malawi, accommodation, food and donations to the charity. There are many ways of raising this money many people do cake sales, c ar boot sales and sponsored events. To fund raise my money for the trip Idecided to take on a paper round which I did daily and all the money I worked for I gave straight toward the trip. It is recommended by the school that you fund raise the money yourself rather than just paying in the money for the trip as this make the whole experience more personal because you know that you have worked hard for others to benefit and this way you can see where the money is going.
Two years ago when I started collecting the funds for the trip I didn’t really know what I was letting myself in for. To start with I thought that I was going out to help in orphanages, have an eye opener to the reality of the world and learn a bit more about FOMO its self. However I didn’t really understand the impact we made to the children’s lives just going to see them, and I wasn’t really aware of how intense the experience was going to be, and the amount of contact we had with the children. This meant that I didn’t really realise how emotionally attached I was going to get to the children and the origination as a whole. The reality was that the children were incredibly grateful for us just being there to see them as this gave them hope that someone out in the wider world was thinking about them. It was the fact that the orphans had nothing yet appreciated everything they had was heart-breaking as people back in the UK live privilege lives and most take it for granted.
That’s why I’m never going to be the same, the experience of going to a 3rd world country was overwhelming and a massive cultural shock and makes me realise how lucky I am to live in a country which is so wealthy.
When we were there we visited 7 centres plus two nurseries and the Mulanje General Hospital. Before the trip out we all collected items such as clothing, books, games and sports equipment as this is what FOMO and the children were most in need of, on the trip over to Malawi we had all our suitcases jam packed full of these types of items. So when we visited each centre we took with us some donations to the children on top of the money we raised. These items we gave straight to orphans so we could directly see our contributions making a difference. One of the ways our presence helped was that we gave them a role model to learn from as this is something they would never of had which meant that they could get a better insight to what the western world is like thus meaning it gives the children something to strive for in later life. But it’s not just short term benefits of us going to visit the children it’s the fact that, our story will now be shared back home and our experience will be told to hundreds of people meaning that we have raise awareness of the charity and have publicised FOMO more which then in turn means that FOMO will benefit as they will gain more attention and long term more money.
The link between us and FOMO is ever growing with every year we visit the charity. It started over 10 years ago when Bay House School sent a small team of students out to FOMO. Since then we have continued to strengthen our relationship by supporting the charity, FOMO has expanded a considerable amount since our first links, as just last year they opened FOMO independent secondary school (FISS) this school takes privet students as well as FOMO sponsored students. This is a massive achievement for the charity as now it can become sustainable as they have potential new
FOMO employees. However this school doesn’t just benefit the charity it also benefits the whole country as its bringing up an educated generation which means the country can move forward and develop their government and infrastructure further. This development of the school means that Bay House and FISS can learn and share teaching methods thus enabling each school to refine their teaching and learning meaning both schools benefit.
Having international links is good because students, like myself, have the chance to have life changing experiences such as visiting these poor counties as now after this trip I look at school in a different light and it makes me appreciated my learning more. Going to a different school teaches me about the different cultures also us being there means that the pupils will learn about our culture too. That is why Bay Houses’ international links are invaluable to the school.
I would like to make a donation, how? Answer Click Here
Education is not just about facts and figures, it’s also about social responsibility. So when an urgent call came from the Malawi Blood Transfusion Service (MBTS) we were proud that the 31 eligible students (+16 years) and the senior staff of FOMO’s Independent Secondary School cheerfully volunteered to freely donate a pint of blood.
Most of the children FOMO helps understand the need for blood and will have at sometime seen their aunts and uncles rushing around trying to find siblings and friends to provide blood for a sick relative, and sometimes it’s a race for life that is not always won. In ideal conditions each blood donation provides three different blood components and can be given to save lives of three different people, but blood only lasts for 42 days so we hope and pray that this gift of blood is the first step in regular giving.
Well done and thank you to everyone that took part.
Wild Life and Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM) from Mulanje donated dust bin to FOMO Independent Secondary School on 27th May 2014. Memory Banda, Community Liason Officer, presented the bin to the principal on behalf of the crew of Wild Life and Environmental Society of Malawi as the leader of delegation.
Receiving the bin, on behalf of FOMO Independent Secondary School, Mr. Ligomeka, the principal, thanked WESM for the gift. He said that the bin has come at the right time when the school is facing the problems in managing waste like sugarcane left overs since this is the season for sugarcane. Speaking during the presentation ceremony, Jessica Namadzunda, the monitoring and evaluation officer, said that the society has done this in order to promote waste management and reduce waste. She also said that FOMO is the only secondary school which has received the bin in Mulanje district. Other bins were given to health centres like Chambe, Kambenje and Namalowe CDSS in Phalombe district.. Other places were Chitakale and Lauderdale markets.
The principal presenting dust bin to Evance Kanada– chairperson of Wild Life Club.
Water Harvesting: A few posts back we managed to install three 6,000 litre water tanks a FOMO Tambala, the final plan was to pipe the water into the building to the toilets and wash basins, also to have an outside tap that we could use to water in the vegetable garden. Well the FOMO Mulanje team has now completed the installation. Congratulations for a job well done.
We still retain the outside toilets, but the ability to wash one’s hands afterwards is a great step forward. The staff and children will still have a bit of a learning curve to go up to strike a balance between water usage and water collection, but time will tell over the next year.
There is enough rainfall averaged over the year to supply the centre, but 3 more tanks would help us with collection and security of supply throughout the year.
We also have 5 more centers and the Secondary School that would benefit greatly from installation of water collection tanks. It does make sense to install tanks and if we can add water solar heaters to the system, we can save a great deal on the scarce firewood.
Save the trees, catch the rain
Lives can be changed, but we do need YOU to help
Even a small gift to help may seem too little, but to them it’s means everything.
Wild Life Clubs of Malawi in Mulanje organized an open day on 8th March 2014 at Mulanje Park where some of the activities included football, netball, egg- on– spoon race, three legged race, poems, drama and many others. FOMO Independent Secondary School was among four schools that attended the ceremony. The schools that attended were Mulanje Mission CDSS, Mulanje Boma CDSS, Robert Private Secondary and FOMO Independent Secondary School. FOMO played with Robert in both football and netball. FOMO lost by one goal to nil in football and FISS netball also lost 3 to 6 in favour of Robert and Mulanje Mission CDSS played with Mulanje Boma CDSS. Mulanje CDSS won by two goals to nil. In the finals, Robert played with Mulanje Boma and Mulanje Boma CDSS won the first position after beating Robert by two goals to zero. In netball, Robert Private won the first position after beating Mulanje Boma CDSS. FISS managed to grab second position in both three-legged race and egg-on-spoon race.
Speaking on behalf of the staff of FOMO Independent Secondary School, Jimmy Makande thanked Wild Life Clubs of Malawi for organizing the open day. He said that this function would encourage members of Wild Life clubs in schools to work hard in order to conserve the environment.
Oscar Kanje, leader of delegation of the volunteers of Wild Life Clubs of Malawi, on behalf of the organizers thanked all the participants who took part in the function. Catherine and Timothy represented the prizes to the winning teams. The first teams both football and netball were given watering can, slasher and a hoe. Other teams got exercise books and pens for taking part in the function.
FOMO Independent Secondary School football team before the kick off with Robert Private Secondary School.
Lives can be changed, but we do need YOU to help
Even a small gift to help may seem too little, but to them it’s means everything.
- Gillian Coxhead – Chair
- Mary Woodworth – Finance
- Keith Woodworth – Secretary
- Audrey Toft – Minutes Secretary
- Jean Smallwood – Member
- Margaret Tipping – Member
- Liz Henfield – New Member
- Neil Griffiths retained as co-opted Member
- Emma Whitlock as a new co-opted Member
The challenges for 2014
- Essential Funding Items
- Maintain Food, Health, Education & Activity Programmes
- 400 Secondary School places (Fees)
- Major Funding Items
- School Girls Hostel Project (Additional Funding)
- Replacement vehicles for FOMO Mulanje operation
- Equipment of Laboratory in FOMO School
- Send a Container
- Funding Wish List
- Refurbishment of Tailoring School
- 24 Seater School Bus
- Additional School block with Lab and 3 classrooms
- Extension of FOMO Gulumba Centre
- Build a Maize Mill
- Water Collection Project (5 Centres) (One completed 2013)
- Build FOMO Centres at Chole, Sazola, Naluwadi, Chinyama
As tradition has grown over the years at the AGM, a video is shown of some of the activities and FOMO work carried out in the previous year. This video below, (26 minutes long) is also now available on DVD. If you wish a copy of the DVD for fund raising, for FOMO please contact us.
by Francis R. G. Ligomeka (Principal FOMO Independant Seconadry School)
FAMILY BACKGROUND: Lydia Funali was born on 17th May 1999 at Nsanjama village in Mkando area in the family of Mr. and Mrs. Funali. Lydia is the last born in the family of five children. She has three brothers and one sister. Her father was working as a primary teacher while her mother was a house wife. Her mother died when she was young that she cannot even remember her appearance. She declares that she has not seen her mother. Her father died a year later. Lydia was staying with her grandmother. Her grandmother also died in 2008. Then, Lydia is staying with her aunt, a sister to her father. Her elder sister and two brothers are staying in their mother’s house in Mkando taking care of them. Lydia and her younger brother, Eric are staying with their aunt at Bondo village, Mulanje. Her aunt has seven children. They have seven children in their family making a total of nine children together with Lydia and her brother. They are not employed but depend on subsistence farming.
JOINING FOMO: Lydia joined FOMO in 2009 when she was 9 years old. She was in standard 4 at KabichiPrimary School by then. Due to financial status of Lydia’s aunt, she could not assist Lydia and her brother Eric together with her seven children, so she went to Chief Bondo and explained that she was supporting two orphans and seven children. Chief Bondo gave her a letter and took it to FOMO centre. Lydia and Eric were registered as FOMO beneficiaries. By then Eric was in standard seven, this time he is in form four at Kabichi CDSS. FOMO is assisting Lydia with school fees, clothes, shoes, food and school materials like exercise books, writing materials and uniform.
EFFECT OF FOMO: FOMO has changed the life of Lydia in different ways. It has changed her life educationally. FOMO encourages children to go to school. She likes education because of FOMO. At first, she had no clothes but this time, she has lots of clothes because of FOMO. She spends much of her time at FOMO centre. Without FOMO, Lydia said that she would have been involved in other immoral activities which would force her into early marriage. She could do this because of lack of financial assistance. Some of her age mates are mothers of fatherless children and others in families.
FUTURE PLANS: Lydia wants to be a nurse. She wants to assist her fellow women and other people who will be in need of healthy assistance. She wishes to be a nurse because she likes science subjects like Physical Science, Biology and Mathematics. She also like other subjects like English, Business Studies and Agriculture.
HER POINT OF VIEW: Lydia is very thankful to the directors and the entire management of FOMO for the assistance rendered to her. Without FOMO, she would not have gone far with her education. She said that she has benefited a lot from FOMO. She asks FOMO to render the same service to other people who are in need. Lydia promises to work with FOMO when she finishes her education
PROBLEMS FACED: Lydia comes from Naluwade centre, Bondo village which is very far FOMOIndependentSecondary School. Because of that, she is at self boarding, renting the premises which are close to the school. Therefore she faces the problems of food and money for daily consumption. Her aunt is trying to assist her but her assistance is not enough due high cost of living.
Lives can be changed, but we do need YOU to help sponsor children like Lydia.
Donating to the hostel project will help Lydia and many other children that are finding it impossible to find safe and secure accomodation to attend school.
Even a small gift to help may seem too little, but to them it’s means everything.
In 2013 FOMO embarked of a new micro finance support project.
The basic idea is to provide supported financial services to individuals within a Group who have little or no other means of access to credit or other financial services. FOMO’s Micro finance targets women headed households in the rural areas of Malawi. More specifically Micro finance is the provision of small loans, to undertake business ventures.Read More Click Here
The first group of 100 women successfully paid back their individual loans well within the agreed time. The individual ventures mainly consist of buying and selling produce, personal and household items.
Following the success of the first loans FOMO has now embarked on a rolling programme of small loans, increasing the amount loaned and increasing the number of participants to 120 or as funds allow. (More funds, more people)
When individuals without capital are presented with the opportunity to borrow, they can start making personal choices that will potentially help to support their families , and taking advantage of FOMO’s micro finance loans can be a great start.
Even a small working loan can be enough to launch a small business in a Malawi that could help the benefactor pull themselves and their family out of poverty, improve their health and children’s education opportunities.
I wish to support this worthy enterprise to empower women in business. How ? Click Here. Even a small amount to the fund will make a difference.
Since the invention of the pot, water has been collected from the dripping cave walls, or the dwelling house. The vessels may have changed and the introduction of the tin roof has made the water collection a little more efficient, but the capacity to store the collected water has always been limited to the size and numbers of the pots.
Water is at a premium in the rural areas, people have to walk long distances to wells and rivers. The provision of boreholes helps to bring clean water closer to the home, but still the task of collecting the water is time consuming and hard labour. Children mostly have the task of bringing back sufficient water for cooking and washing and traditionally the water is carried on their heads which may look sweet in the pictures, but can’t be good for their physical development and time lost from just being children.
Tambala like very many, is a small hamlet deep in the rural area with no access to electricity or mains water. FOMO a number of years ago installed a borehole and built a centre to serve both Tambala village and the surrounding area, but the need for more has always been at the back of our minds.
The surface area of the FOMO centre roof at Tambala is around 432 meter square ie the building is 36 meters (118 feet) long and 12 meter (39.5 feet) wide, which we felt was large enough to collect sufficient water over the rainy season, (December to April) to allow it to be used during the dry season for vegetable production. Some rain does fall between May and November with October and November being the driest months.
With the villagers limited means of collecting water, there is little or no water for the production of food during the dry season, It would be nice to provide everyone with a tank and guttering, but the cost really rules this out, but something can be done, and it was with great pleasure that the South Ribble Rotary Club had the vision and took on our proposal to fund a water harvesting project at the FOMO centre at Tambala village.
Due to the non standard overhang from the edge of the roof and the fascia board we had to make some modifications to the standard gutter brackets and with the enthusiastic help of the children at FOMO Kumwamba, we soon had a little production line going. The ground work was completed at Tambala and the three 6000 litre tanks installed. Due to the remoteness of the centre and the standard of the roads it was some days before the rains subsided long enough so we could go out and fit the guttering and pipe work. One thing about fitting the gutters in the pouring rain is that you know instantly that they are working, but we managed and within half an hour of connecting the down pipe into the tank, we already had a foot of water in the bottom.
This project will help to provide a daily supply of water and sufficient to grow vegetables in the dry season to help nourish the children, but this could not have been achieved without outside funding, we have six further buildings that are suitable for this project and if you would like to help, please contact me. Click Here
A further development of the water harvesting project is to add a solar heater; this would provide hot water for bathing and washing clothes etc and reduce the need for firewood.
FOMO has for many years been running internal sports and activity bonanzas for many year, each of the 13 centres contributing to the football, netball, athletics, acrobatics, dance and singing, but this is the first year we have concentrated on the underfourteens and taking it to a bigger stage at Mulanje park.
The FOMO under 14 Bonanza held at Mulanje Park Sports ground signified what Malawi should be in future as the young girls and boys entertained the crowds that came to celebrate New Year in style with FOMO joined by members of Mulanje FA, Our Voice Our Future, Mulanje District Council, Police, in the company of chiefs from the surrounding villages. They made the Bonanza a great success. Watching the under 14 playing football and netball, the crowds were greatly inspired.
The bonanza was opened up to many new teams not connected directly to FOMO and allowed the event to truly represent the children of Mulanje.
The Principal of FOMO Independent Secondary School Mr. Francis Ligomeka speaking on behalf of the Director Mrs. Mary Woodworth assured the gathering that the Bonanza will continue with full participation of the communities.
The Under 14 Sports Bonanza brought people together regardless of their society or political affiliations. The occasion was the best for any peace loving Malawian would like to see more of such events for the youth in Malawi.
FOMO believes playing sports can give young people joy and desire to succeed in life but still urges young people to work hard at school and live in harmony.
FOMO has for the past many years since its opening changed and influenced living conditions of many orphans through sporting events. Sport gave young boys and girls motivation and opportunities to improve their life and health, while offering entertainment to many social groups in Mulanje.
FOMO WISHES TO THANK ALL WHO SUPPORTED THE UNDER 14 FOMO BONANZA IN MULANJE DISTRICT.
Director of FOMO, Mrs. Mary Woodworth popularly known as “Aunt Mary” together with her husband also popularly known as “Uncle Keith” shaking hands with the officials and players just be-fore kick off. FOMO has for the past many years since its opening changed living conditions of many orphans through its direct aid programme and sporting events. Sporting events have brought communities together while giving young boys and girls’ time to improve their education and well being. FOMO sponsored the Bonanza.
- FOMO Sazola Sisters
- FOMO Sapitwa Sisters
- FOMO Kumwamba
- Super Eleven FC
- FOMO Mangani FC
- FOMO Kumwamba FC
- FOMO Kadewere FC
Last October after collecting a shed full, (big shed) of various items to support the FOMO programme in Malawi, a spirited band of volunteers came together on a cool cloudy Friday morning to see how much we could pack into the 40ft container. A misspent youth playing Tetras, is a useful skill on such occasions, as we manoeuvred the numerous hospital beds, water tanks, boxes and bags of all shapes and sizes into the container. Our job was done as we waved good bye to the container and surveyed what was left over, for next year’s container.
Late December, and the container makes land fall in Blantyre Malawi. With a bit of running about the container was cleared to come down to Mulanje. Transport was arranged and the storage in Mulanje had been previously cleared ready to take and sort the load. So all that was needed was to lift the container in Blantrye from the stack in the custom area and pop it onto a lorry so we could drive the 30 mile down to Mulanje. Now that sound simple, but the crane in the container port that moves the containers around, was not working as their generator/transformer was broken and so there was no electricity to the crane. Not to worry, and after waiting all day we had to standdown the driver of the truck and go back to Mulanje. Next day the electrical supply was still not working, (I can see a back log building up) the situation went on for almost a week, but finally the electricity was flowing again the container was loaded, but now its night time. We can’t unload the container in the dark as we have to wait for the MRA, (customs) people to observe the unloading. The nearest customs post to Mulanje is at the boarder about fifteen miles away. They don’t have any transport, so off we went early next morning to collect them, and finally the unloading started.
We had a number of large water tanks in the container which had been donated by South Ribble Rotary Club for a water collection project at FOMO Tambala Centre. The tanks are not heavy, but due to their size are a little awkward to handle and the plan was to slide the tanks from the container onto the back of the FOMO lorry, easy!. Due to mechanical problems, (and if someone wants to help us out with funding for newer vehicles, Christmas will most definitely have come) the truck did not arrive until later, but you have to admire the teams ability to problem solve and though H & S may be shuddering in their steel capped boots, the three tanks were safely unloaded along with the hospital beds for Mulanje District Hospital and a multitude of things for the school, clinic and the children.
A job well done by everyone in the UK and Mulanje that made it possible to deliver the container safely to its destination i.e. the children.
Joe Mwandidya and Wise Chauluka accompanied by Jefferson Milanzie of Young Achievers for Development (YAD) and MIJ FM radio personality facilitated a youth empowerment debate that was warmly hosted at FOMO Independent Secondary School by FOMO’s Director Mrs Mary Woodworth.
The FOMO students and alumni were joined by students from Jacaranda Pvt. School in Blantyre. The participation was highly interactive, but more time and resources are needed to continue with the debates especially at a time when the country will be going to tripartite polls in May of 2014.
The guest of honour was Gabriel Hons-Olivier – Public Affairs Officer USA Embassy. With him was Mr. Limbani Chipembere. During the recorded debate Gabriel took sometime to interact with the youth who gathered for the occasion. Youth were reminded to take up responsibility to something about their future and that they should not always wait for someone to do anything for them. Getting started was very important. The youth were very enthusiastic and participated very well during the debate anchored by Rachel Mhango of MIJ FM.
The debate session which took place at FOMO centre in Mulanje was organized in order to engage the youth in determining their destiny. The young people came out very clearly to define what they could do differently if in public office. Among other things greed and self enrichment was seen as a cause for poor governance where interests of the people were ignored completely. Given the opportunity, OUR VOICE, OUR FUTURE provides the best platform for young people to voice out their aspirations.
The Project “Our Voice, Our Future” aims to mobilize young people from all sectors of society across the country to assist them to get organized within youth associations / groups / cooperatives, assist them gain social, entrepreneurial and developmental skills. .
OUR VOICE, OUR FUTURE wish to thank the US Embassy in particular Mr. Gabriel and Mr. Limbani who joined the youth. Thanks go to FOMO Management and staff for the wonderful reception. coupled with renewed hope and optimism among a people. To the young people who came to the function we extend our sincere thanks for a job well done.
Gabriel took time to interact with the youth and encouraged them to be responsible and participate in development work. Without waiting for things to happen rather be part of the future they want to be.
Mr. Gabriel took time to sign the visitors book at FOMO Independent Secondary School where the debate took place. Mrs Mary Woodworth (in the centre) witnessed the signing moment as she looked on flanked by Wise Chauluka. The experience was tremendous. This marked a memorable day to the school. Some prospects for the future were discussed and follow up actions will follow. The day was indeed great.
Helping does, has and will make a difference,
Your gift can save a child from a life of suffering, and open up a world of opportunities.
A small gift to help the children may seem too little, but to them it’s means everything.
Mary & Keith Woodworth for FOMO……………………Aid Direct and Personal
www.fomo.co.uk………..with more, we can do more……….. Please pass on this email
There is a phone advert on TV at the moment that tries to imply that we are all connected. I am married to my wife, my wife has met the president of Malawi who has met some of the world leaders like David Cameron, Barack Obama etc. Does this mean I am connected to David or Barack? Of course not. Do they know I exist, other than as a statistic? Of course not, but they have the power to change my life for good or ill.
I am linked to a little girl called Teka through a web of connections that have their origins in the distant past and individual decisions made along life’s way. To you at the moment she is just a little girl in the mass of humanity. The decision is yours to read her story and make a connection. What action or inaction you decide will affect her and maybe thousands of other children in similar circumstances.
The last image you see of Teka as a happy 12 year old will live forever, but she may have already slipped over the horizon and become just another statistic. The power to connect and make a change is in your hands.
Teka’s Story: Teka is now 12 and a survivor – thanks to FOMO.
Her parents split up when she was very small and Teka lived with her dad. She was just five when he died. Rejected by her Mum, who had remarried, and by other relations, the future looked bleak for little Teka. Luckily her 9 year-old brother had the sense to ask FOMO for help. It was decided Tika should stay in the children’s house where a care assistant would protect and care for her. A happy Tika was soon top of her class at school. One day she was involved in an accident on the way home from school, which left her battered and bruised. FOMO’s clinical staff visited her every day, but she lost some schooling and it was decided she should board at the school to make up the lost time and avoid the perils of travelling .Again she bounced back and was soon at the top of her class once more. Then in June this year FOMO had a call from the school to say she was very sick and had been like that for two weeks. FOMO immediately went to collect her and found she was so weak that she couldn’t even walk across the room. The FOMO ambulance was called and she was taken to Mulanje Mission (a fee paying hospital) where she stayed for a couple of nights, Despite a diagnosis that she was just run down and would be better in a week, her condition didn’t improve. Again the FOMO ambulance was called. This time she was taken to Blantyre, and a hospital with a working X-ray machine. As our own clinician had suspected, Tika had TB. FOMO paid the bill and got medicine. Within a week (staying at the FOMO centre) she was up and about and looking a lot better, though still in some pain, 6 months later and she has completed the TB treament, Tika is now back to normal, and she is now back at school and doing well. But where should Tika live? Enter Sheila, who helped to care for Tika while she was ill and shared an obvious bond. A ‘FOMO child’ herself, Sheila is now married with her own child, but her house was too small to take in an extra child. FOMO again stepped in and rented a house for Sheila. her family and Teka. Teka once again is doing well at school and has a family that she can settle down with. Now in her final year of primary school it is anticipated that she will pass to go on to Secondary school and with the right funding, will go even further.
If FOMO hadn’t been there Teka would be begging on the streets.
Now she has a chance to be Teka.
Helping does, has and will make a difference,
but we do need YOU to help sponsor children like Teka,
Your gift today can save a child from a life of suffering, and open up a world of opportunities.
Even a small gift to help the children may seem too little, but to them it’s means everything.
Mary & Keith Woodworth for FOMO……………………….Aid Direct and Personal
www.fomo.co.uk………with more, we can do more………… Please pass on this email
by JIMMY MAKANDE
Family background – Jimmy Makande was born in 1987 in Khoviwa village in one of the mountainous districts of Malawi, Mulanje. Jimmy is the third and last born in the family, now only he and one sister remain as another sister passed on before he was born. Since my parents were not good at keeping records it is very difficult for me to be exact on the date I was born, as such I chose 24th December to be my birthday for I consider it the day of hope. Both my father and mum were from the same district.
My father was a hard worker; he spent much of his time working as a Motor Vehicle Mechanic at one of the well known trading centers on the outskirts of our village and we all lived happily as a family. The death of my father in the early 1990s changed every aspect of my life; my family started living a miserable life as my mother could not afford to take care of us. Worse still, soon after my father’s death, his relatives grabbed everything leaving us desperate and helpless as we had nobody to turn to in times of trouble as he was the only bread winner.
Later on, my mother moved to Blantyre, one of the Malawi’s commercial cities where she secured a job before she died two years later. My mother’s death opened another chapter in my life; I was an orphan only five years of age who had to live with an old granny in the village. The most unfortunate part, I was left by my parents when I had not yet started primary school.
Things were not easy for me including my Sister. Thanks to my tender age, sometimes I could not understand what was really happening. However as I grew up I noticed that things were not the same. Coupled with old age of my grandmother, we really experience hard times. Sleeping on empty stomachs and spending nights on the floor without blankets to cover ourselves in cruel cold months in a dilapidated house. Usually, we dressed in torn and oversized clothes most of them given by well wishers. None of my father’s relatives paid attention to the miserable situation I and my sister were going through; instead they were busy enjoying whatever my father left.
In all the situations we went through, Life was really miserable and un bearable but we endured as my grandmother was there for us providing comfort and I remember her words and I quote “ my son, do not worry so much, there is a light at the end of tunnel and God will take care of us”
Education background – Despite all the challenges I was going through, my grandmother, though not educated sent me to school. I started my primary education at the age of seven at one of the nearby primary school in our village, Chisitu Primary School.
My life at school was still remained a misery. The situation was still unbearable. Pressure mounted on our grandmother to provide us with the required necessities but still her old age posed a challenge. She repeatedly reminded us that education is a key to success. Sometimes she could narrate to us stories of successful people who had gone through tough times.
In return, such speeches would give us courage and forced us to go and fetch fire wood in Mulanje Mountain which we could sell to purchase soap and note books, sometimes I would wake up earlier to do pieces in the field before I went go to school, so we could get some necessities. Despite the challenges I faced regarding my education I was among the hard working students. I passed the Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations and got selected to Mulanje Secondary School and I was a happy person with hope that my selection to boarding secondary school would bring new dimension to my life.
My Entry at FOMO – The celebration to my selection into Secondary school was thwarted by my grandmother’s open declaration that she could not manage to pay for my fees. I tried to consult my relatives whom I felt could be assisting paying for my school fees but to no avail. Weeks and days passed without reporting for school until the grace period erupted. It was really a painful moment as no one showed any interest in my condition. With time I thought of taking up piece work where I managed to raise MK1, 000.00 and part of my fees. To minimize my problems, the Headmaster responded to my proposal to start operating from home.
One day I approached one of my teachers to who was shocked with my situation. He then referred the matter to our Head teacher who was already aware of my situation and the two introduced me to a vibrant and well known charity organization in Mulanje. Dressing in his usual grey colored suit the Head master broke the silence, “we have finally defeated the devil…from now on wards you will never operate from your home because we have finally secured a scholarship for you”. This was how I was found in the hands of Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO), a vibrant and respected charity organization in Mulanje.
When I brought the news to my grandmother, she was so astonished for God had finally answered our prayers, meaning that FOMO had finally taken over her responsibility of me. I promised hard working to show my appreciation for the golden chance God had given me to attend education. Although I limited time to attend classes before I was called on campus, I worked hard and scored position one in end of term one exams.
One of my happiest moments came in when I was given a chance to have an audience with my Benefactor, Mary Woodworth, Founder and Director of FOMO. She encouraged me to work extra harder and assured me of more help as I continued to do better in my education.
Life at FOMO – Since I joined FOMO in 2004, my life has changed completely. The organization provided me with school fees. FOMO also provided me with material support and others as required by the school. More importantly when I was in Form one, I was even offered an opportunity to attend computer lessons. In 2007, I was among the best performing students in Malawi School Certificate of Education at Mulanje Secondary school and qualified for the University Entrance Examinations.
While waiting for the next UEE I attended the Primary School teaching course at Blantyre Teachers College with assistance from FOMO. In 2009, when I was about to finish my course in Primary Teaching, I realized my dream when I was considered to pursue a Bachelor of Science Water Resources Management at one of the public Universities in Malawi, Mzuzu University of which am certain of finishing this December, 2013.
Acknowledgements – Considering the fact that it has been a long journey at FOMO, I have find it necessary to thank the following people for all the support they have rendered to me throughout the hard times I have been going through. I therefore would like to sincerely thank Aunt Mary Woodworth and Uncle Keith Woodworth for giving me an opportunity to attend education and the effort they have played to bring a difference to my life. It was beyond my imagination how my future could have been had it not been for your assistance but with your incredible support and encouragement I am determined to make a good future.
I will always cherish your love and care for you have been there for me in all the hurdles I was experiencing and I attribute all success I made to your encouragement and support. To me and my colleagues at FOMO, you are really parents of Golden Heart, who show love and give hope to the hopeless. Since the time you held my hand I have never felt as an orphan. It is because of this reason that I ask God to give you long life and bless you abundantly.
Personal Experiences at FOMO – Since I joined FOMO in 2004, I have been exposed to different opportunities based on potentials I showed. Despite paying for my school fees, FOMO had given me opportunities to orientate myself in different careers which among others are teaching in Nursery school, Stores management, Project Management and Education Officer. More importantly, both my time and my involvement in various activities at FOMO offered me an opportunity to work and interact with people of all calibres such as Lawyers, Politicians and Journalists.
First Left – Experiencing one of my golden times at FOMO: Meeting the state President of the Republic of Malawi, Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Banda at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre.
My Future Plans – As a person who has greatly benefited from FOMO, it is my wish to dedicate my services to FOMO so that I should be part of the system to assist the organization achieve its objectives. I am always proud to be part of FOMO and always glad to see FOMO sustaining its operations. It is also my wish to proceed with education to increase my understanding on some of the areas which are crucial but better for my society including FOMO.
My plea to the Donors and Well-wishers. – I would like to earnestly thank all the donors and well-wishers who have always worked tirelessly to assist Aunt Mary and Uncle Keith in improving the lives of orphans of Mulanje. Your help has really brought a difference to the lives of many orphans in Mulanje. It has been observed that Malawi being one of the poorest sub-Saharan African countries, it is hard for vulnerable children such as orphans to meet their basic needs. Your help is really benefiting us and is my heartfelt hope that you will continue contributing towards improving the lives of orphans in Mulanje in the name of FOMO
Words to My Fellow Beneficiaries – It is a golden chance to get assistance from well wishers. Remember, it is not all orphans in Malawi who have the chance of being assisted. We should consider ourselves lucky to get assistance from FOMO as such we need not to take this chance for granted, let’s utilize this to the fullest so that we should build our future. Let’s support FOMO’s effort by assisting it in achieving its objectives.
Inter Care are a unique charity that recycles GP patient returned medicines which would otherwise be sent to landfill or incineration.
FOMO’s registered clinic, the children and local population in Mulanje, Malawi have benefited from Inter Care’s Medicine to Africa programme with several deliveries of medicine a year over a number of years. Inter Care have also responded to specific needs in times of crisis with special deliveries of life saving medicines.
This programme is highly controlled and ensures that medicines only go to registered medically trained staff. It is a unique way to recycle the vast amount of medicines that would normally be destroyed. If you are a GP or Pharmacist who would like to help, then please Click Here for more information.
Saving lives and remember FOMO treats the children, over 5000 free of charge.
As with any health care programme, the need for medicine and services is vital for growing children and the community. Inter Care’s contribution is invaluable, but they can’t cover all the children’s medical situations, we still need to maintain the infrastructure, buy drugs to meet some of the conditions local to the area, Malaria, Bilharzia etc. If you can help our MedicalCare programme, you will be saving lives. Click Here
Football plays a significant part in the lives of Malawians and the children of FOMO are no exception. Whether it is watching, playing or following their favourite UK league teams on the couple of tiny televisions available to them in Mulanje, they do so with a passion equal to that of actually being there.
Our teams have won a number of cups over the years, including the presidential and Mulanje league cups. Playing on grounds in summer that resemble hard rough uneven sand paper and in the rainy season resemble a slimy, potholed, puddle ridden quagmire. Our kit, players and especially the boots take a bit of a pounding, so it was with great pleasure that Kit Aid were able to provide us with some shirts and tops to go into this years container.
Around FOMO 13 centres both the younger older children have benefited from contributions from Kit aid, Tarleton FC, Lancashire FA, personal donations of kit and boots and from their idols Liverpool FC over the years. We always need more, conditions are very tough on balls and boots, but we also need kit including pads, socks etc. if you can help in any way please contact us. Video Click Here
I must put in a plea for the girls as they are just as passionate about netball as the boys are about football and their kit comes under the same harsh playing conditions as the football. Balls, trainers, bibs, kit etc are always welcome.
FOMO Football Great Liverpool supporters
The team’s project was based at an orphan centre in the Mulanje region of Southern Malawi. The Tambala Centre, which was the team’s home for the next week, was run by FOMO (Friends Of Mulanje Orphans), a UK based charity. Tambala is a large orphan centre, which provided the facilities for 400 orphans to attend, meet and play with one another. It also provided some basic teaching and each day Auntie Hannah and her helpers provided a basic meal, cooked on an open fire, for all the children.
Upon arrival, the team received an amazing welcome, which included introductory speeches, singing, dancing and gymnastics. The number of children at the centre was quite overwhelming and the afternoon was spent making new friends, playing and taking vast numbers of photos followed immediately by having to show the results to a mass of children wishing to see themselves on a small LCD screen!
Whilst at the Tambala Centre, the team undertook the renovation and decoration of the interior and exterior of the main building. During the 6 days, the team made excellent progress inside the centre and finished the redecoration of the main hall, two additional rooms, a hallway and two bathrooms. Outside, the team also completed the front of the building, one sidewall, the large covered walkway and the paintwork on the window frames and wrought iron door grills. The team had hoped to complete the remainder of the exterior but a large bees’ nest in the roof, at one end of the building, prevented this, although the budget was sufficient to pay for the nest to be removed. The team also paid for curtain poles and new curtains in many of the rooms, which were made at the FOMO textiles department.
Each afternoon, following a long day’s work, the team relaxed and played a variety of games with the orphans. Unfortunately, the Sion international football team was convincingly beaten (some would say thrashed) by the better organised, more skilful and significantly faster local team, most of whom were playing bare footed. However, honour was redeemed by two convincing victories at netball, although I’m not positive that all of our play was strictly within the rules.
Overall, it was a privilege to have the opportunity to work at the Tambala orphan centre.. The children at the centre were an inspiration and although they had very little in the way of personal possessions they were always smiling and happy. The FOMO organisation does wonderful work and I look forward to Sion School supporting them further in the future.
Lives can be changed, but we do need YOU to help
Even a small gift to help may seem too little, but to them it’s means everything.
The FOMO staff have been busy finishing off various aspects of facilities and procedures. One element not to be overlooked is the enrolment of the students, this process start yesterday with an entrance exam. We were a little unsure how many would attend the exam session, but were delighted that over 200 potential students turned up on the day. Sadly we can only take 100 students this year, therefore many will be very disappointed, but we do have plans if ESCOM finally connect the electric to run an afternoon/ night school, though not ideal there is hope.
There is a great desire for education in Malawi, but sadly not many places in secondary school. This may be a small beginning, but with your help on this project we will make a big difference to the children in Mulanje. We do have many plans to expand the school and give more children a chance and with your continued support we will reach our goal one day.
The cost of food has risen considerably over the last few months and with so many children to feed, (5000) we have had to dig deep into our shallow pockets for the latest delivery of Malawi food staples, maize and beans. As we buy treated foods in bulk, 20 tonne at a time we are limited to a few suppliers in Malawi. Those who have been following the FOMO story for some years, know that we also have vegetable gardens at the centres which help to supplement our food supply. FOMO Chole Microfinance Project ladies have also risen to the challenge by supplying pigeon peas and made a little profit in the process. Food prices are rising on a quarterly basis and we appreciate continued support with this vital service.