In May, the major activities were the usual ones: preschool and feeding programme, Bible Study and Gospel Outreaches, Radio broadcasts and purchase of sewing machines. Sadly, we lost one of the students under FVM Education Assistance programme, Esther who was doing her final year at University of Malawi, Chancellor College, Bachelor of Social Science – Development. The report also highlights the plight of people with albinism in Malawi.
Preschool & Feeding Programme: Tremendous work of Volunteers
One of the unique and consistent intervention towards the development of the communities FVM is carrying out its activities in is child development through the provision of education and nutritious food. Total of 700 children are provided with nutritious Likuni Phala (soybeans fortified with maize) five days in a week throughout the year. The community members freely prepare the meals for their children thereby promoting community participation in and community ownership of programme. To supplement this provision of the meals by FVM, the people voluntarily work in the field to produce maize (corn), unfortunately the rain has not been good enough over the past two years.
- Weekly Bible Study is going on well. The local pastors and FVM staff facilitate the studies.
- There was Gospel Outreach at Mukwaru Village within GHV Taulo. About 90 people attended and close to 30% of them indicated coming to the LORD for the first time. Pastors Sam Banda and Harold Mateyu led the programme.
- Weekly Radio Broadcasts of the Gospel in local languages of ChiTumbuka and Chichewa continue very well with encouraging
Innocent is a young man in his second year at the University of Malawi - Chancellor College doing Bachelor of Social Science and is yet to specialise. He requested to do volunteer work in the communities FVM is currently working in Malawi. He has been involved in several activities in Taulo. He enjoys doing all kinds of community work including spending time with the children at the child care centre. He also does all kinds of work with the community based volunteers.
Pastor Justin Falinya is slowly but steadily recovering from the stroke. Newton had a considerable good time talking to Justin on telephone two days ago. He is regaining speech quite quickly.
As you might have read in papers or watched on televisions, Malawi has all of a sudden become a haven of evil killings of people with albinism as there is a superstition that their body parts when combined with some concoction bring about financial fortune.
This kind of belief has spread from Tanzania and Kenya. It is also believed that having sexual encounter with a person with healed one from HIV/AIDS. These beliefs have put our colleagues with albinism at risk. Currently, about 18 of them have so far been killed nationwide. Such being the case, Government of Malawi and all NGOs have mainstreamed the fight against such practices through advocacy. FVM has also joined the fight against such evil beliefs.
On the right hand side is Pastor Harold Mateyu, a charismatic pastor. He was initially pastoring in Ntaja Machinga district. One day, he went for prayers into the mountains, and unknowing the murders came to his house and found him not. The damaged his house and property. After getting the news on his way down mountain, he had to sneak out of the community and settled in his home, Taulo with nothing. I had a long discussion with him, he has a very touching story. Harold is married and has a girl child named Shalom. He has been quite instrumental in FVM’s gospel outreach programmes to the communities as a preacher and Conveinor of the actual preaching activities. On the left is Bertha and her girl children, Akuzike and Chigonjetso. Bertha is married to Justin for six years now and has been quite instrumental in reaching out to the youth in holistic development through Student Christian Organisation of Malawi (SCOM). She is a primary school teacher and a very responsible citizen. Newton had conversation with her through telephone of Sunday 12th June, 2016 where she lamented on the witch-hunting of her life in her locality. She even reported the matter to police to provide security to her. She narrated that for a week without actually sleeping.
FVM has now engaged itself with other organisations to intensify awareness and advocacy within their means in addressing the problem by reaching out to the communities to be involved in protecting their fellow community members with albinism.
On a sad note, Esther Kachikuni, a finale student at Chancellor College went to be with the LORD on the wee hours of Thursday, 19th May, 2016 in her dormitory at the college. She was one the FVM Education Assistance beneficiaries. She was a devout Christian and was doing Bachelor of Social Science Development. She was a twin sister to Esme, both were daughters of Bishop and Mrs. Kachikuni of Living Waters Church in Blantyre. Like her surviving twin sister, she was born with physical challenges.
FVM does not work in isolation. It works with other stakeholders in various forums. At a district level, FVM has been participating in forums like: Civil Society Networks, Child Protection Network, District Executive Committee (DEC), and Civil Society Organisation Nutrition Alliance (CSONA). At community level, FVM has been participating in several meetings to enhance the ownership by the community. These meetings are purposed to monitor, evaluate and possibly modify our general activities so they remain relevant to both beneficiaries and benefactors.
What lies ahead
- Eye screening exercise (21 June, 2016)