The Raven Trust provides practical, direct support to needy communities in Malawi, East Africa. Take a look around this site and find out how anyone can get involved in the struggle to fight poverty!
More Container Tales
Cervical Screening at Nkhoma
One of the great things about helping with the loading of Raven Trust containers is the number of interesting people you can meet and the stories they have to tell. On the left is a picture of Professor Heather Cubie who has been leading a team setting up a sustainable cervical screening programme in Nkhoma Hospital and 5 surrounding health centres. She came to Strachur with a microscope, bench centrifuge and ultrasound scanner to be securely packed and sent off in the container.
In Malawi, cervical cancer is the most frequent cancer among women of reproductive and economically important age and has a 80% mortality.There is no national screening programme for cervical cancer and many women have inadequate access to treatment. Ostracisation of women with severe symptoms and limited palliative care add to the misery of sufferers.
In the first 2 years of the scheme which is partly funded by the Scottish Government, the team got permission from 84 Group Village Headmen to speak to around 30,000 people in the region and, in addition, a potential 120,000 have been reached by local radio broadcasts. 24 Malawian health professionals have been trained to provide the service and treat early lesions and 75% of those with early signs of abnormality are treated the same day.
Sadly the clinics still see too many women with cancers which are too advanced for immediate treatment and there is little that Malawi can offer in terms of chemo- or radiotherapy, but the project does ensure that there women have their diagnoses fully explained and are offered surgery or palliative care where appropriate.
Year 3 of the project will extend the service to 5 more health centres and consolidate training. If more funding can be secured, the team hope to extend their ‘hub and spokes’ model to additional hospitals and their health centres.
FCL 97 on the road to Malawi
There was quite a bit of snow about as a great team of volunteers arrived at the store in Strachur to load FCL 97 with a static and 2 mobile dental chairs, medical and dental equipment, hospital supplies, bedding, clothing for babies, children and adults, sewing machines, knitting machines and a seemingly endless variety of much needed goods for the folk of northern Malawi. Think we broke our own record for loading today and with a friendly wave from driver Ian, FCL 97 set out on the long journey to Ekwendeni where she should arrive in May. God speed FCL 97!
Dundee and Strachur Stores
1. Just a reminder that the Dundee store at 11 Peddie Street Dundee DD1 5LP is open every Saturday morning from 10 am – 12 noon. Container FCL 96 which was loaded at Dundee on 6th December 2014 arrived safely and was unloaded at Ekwendeni on 10th February. We hope that the next container to load at Dundee will load in April.
2. FCL 97 will load at Strachur on 4th March. The contents, as usual, are very varied and include educational books and supplies, specialist medical equipment, baby clothing and bedding. The container should arrive in Ekwendeni during John’s visit to Malawi in June
Malawi rains – Baula
These are pictures of the current position at Baula – about 10 miles west of Ekwendeni Hospital. There are many reports of serious flooding in the south of Malawi. The north is also being affected as at Baula. Recently planted crops of maize and sweet potatoes have been washed out or have rotted and what is left is not growing well. The situation looks bleak for people and families at Baula and elsewhere in the country for the coming months. We have also received reports of damage to housing and property. Goods from the Raven Trust containers such as clothing and bedding are being distributed by the CCAP (Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian) Synod to those who have been affected.
Strachur store re-opens
After a short break, the Strachur store is again open. This store is not manned full time, so if you want to deliver goods please get in touch, by email in the first instance (email@example.com), giving your name, contact details and a short description of quantity and type of goods to be delivered.
Val Symons is a PE teacher who has been visiting Malawi for a number of years with the Focus on Malawi team. She has built up a relationship with Teachers and pupils at Ekwendeni Srcondary School and sent them balls and equipment for netball with a Raven Trust container. However, they had no netball stands.
This year Val returned to Malawi and John Challis organised the manufacture of poles, bases and hoops by the local blacksmith. Paint, in Malawi, comes in 5 litre cans and is white, but John managed to find a small pot of blue paint for the stands. The school was delighted and we have just received a letter from Val saying
‘I have had a lovely email from Abel at Ekwendeni Secondary School – thanking me for the posts and kit and hoping to organise matches with another school – he was very complimentary about the quality of the posts so we shall have to thank your blacksmiths….’
We just never know what John will get involved with during his visits to Malawi, but well done to all !
The Raven Trust store at Peddie Street, Dundee will be closed on Saturday 27th December 2014 and Saturday 3rd January 2015
Container loaded in Dundee
The three pedal – powered rice threshers were loaded onto a container at Dundee on Saturday 6th December along with around 1,000 boxes of goods of all descriptions. The container should reach Malawi within 3 months, in time for the next rice harvest and should be of great benefit to the small farmers around Kaporo near Karonga in the north of Malawi
Nigel and Vicky Milne assisted by Catherine Smith, have been busy undertaking dentistry again this year, particularly in the remote areas of Embangweni and along the coast. People came from far and wide to be seen by the team and over 850 teeth were safely extracted, including a three rooted molar which was a challenge. A great amount of pain relieved in many people.
Water Quality Testing
John Littlejohn has just returned from Malawi. While there he was able to undertake the testing of water quality of boreholes, shallow wells and scrapes around the Ekwendeni area.
Some, which are near housing, have contamination issues and the PHC (Primary Health Care Department) of the hospital will investigate further.
Many have a ‘salty taste’ due to wells being drilled into the deep aquifer laid down many years ago. John also examined the water in the Henga area and it has been decided that, due to surface contamination, it is unsafe to take water from a local stream and village boreholes will be used instead
Joyce Makwenderie runs the children’s Nutrition Unit at Ekwendeni Hospital. When they have recovered and are discharged from the unit the children go back into the community. Many have social issues and these are addressed by Joyce and her team. She is very grateful for the items of clothing and knitting sent to the department.
This community built bridge has been completed and provides a very welcomed connection to the villages in the area. The old metal ‘vehicle chassis’ bridge is now relegated to a museum item and the people have a strong, safe bridge to cross over the river which is much appreciated.
In Strachur, we receive requests from other charities to use our containers to transport items to Malawi. A recent approach from Just Trading Scotland (owned by the Balmore Trust) has resulted in the Dundee container shipping 3 pedal powered rice de-huskers. These will be used by the villagers at Kaporo near Karonga in Northern Malawi, a major rice growing area.