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!
The Great Barrhead High Knit Off
Barrhead High School has been very much involved in making woollen blankets to send out to Malawi as part of their “Rights Respecting School”.
In Malawi, the night time temperatures can be very cold. Many newborn babies die during the first night due to exposure to the cold.
A presentation from Prof. Alan McGown was given to junior school pupils about the rights and responsibilities pupils have regarding global issues and what the pupils in Barrhead High can do to help. Following that, pupils, parents and staff have been knitting squares which have been joined up to make cosy woollen blankets.
A lunchtime “knitting club” was set up and organised in the Home Economics Department = Their mottos was “every little square helps”.
The school are now ready to send out the first batch of blankets to Malawi.
Young at heart
This is Mrs McFadden of Dunoon who will celebrate her 100th birthday in November. Far from sitting back and taking her ease, Mrs McFadden is rarely without her crochet hook, busy making beautiful baby blankets in pastel colours which she gives to the Raven Trust to send to Malawi. She was pictured at the hairdresser’s, busy with her hands as usual. Her friend, Mrs Hart, is equally busy with her knitting needles making baby clothing.
More knitting and craft work comes to us through Christine Harding from Strachur who volunteers every week with Maggie’s Centre at Gartnavel Hsopital, Glasgow. Maggie’s Centre offers practical, emotional and social support to people with cancer and their families. One of their weekly sessions sees volunteers and clients getting together to chat while doing handcrafts which are sometimes sold to raise funds for the centre while some come back with Christine to be sent to Malawi.
The Raven Trust and the recipients of these gifts in Malawi are very grateful for all this beautiful work.
Raven Trust Open Day
Come along and hear the latest news of Raven Trust work
Container Tales (4)
The Tale of the visit that grew (and grew)
In May 2012 Audrey Kelly, a veterinary nurse, set out for 10 days in Malawi with a group of vets and vet nurses to help to set up and equip a veterinary clinic ( the Lilongwe Society for the Protection and Care of Animals) and train the staff. The clinic cares for pets, farm animals and wildlife and runs visiting clinics as well as the main one in Lilongwe.
While in Malawi, Audrey visited Mtsiliza village and orphanage and saw the needs of the widows and orphans there. So when she returned to the UK she set about organising some fundraising and collection of goods to help supply some of those needs. With the help of family and friends she collected 56 boxes of goods – veterinary equipment, clothing for the widows and children, knitting, school items, stationery, flip flops, books, toys and toiletries – and funds to send them. Richard Ssuna, principal vet at the clinic in Lilongwe, made the 500 mile round trip to collect the boxes from Ekwendeni and distribute them to the clinic and to Mtsiliza and passed on to Audrey the thanks of the clinic and of the Director of the orphanage.
Container Tales (3)
The Tale of LovesWorld
LovesWorld is a cooperation between local people in Baula and supporters in the UK. It began with a nursery school held under a mango tree and has grown to feed, care for and teach orphans, widows, the elderly and others in need in the local community. With income generation schemes including necklace and basket making and UK support they have built a community centre in which they run schools and support groups and have tilled the ground around to produce food for the local community in times of shortage. They run a food bank and clothes bank.
Recently they received boxes of clothing and books from a Raven Trust container. Their only transport consisted of a bicycle – so that was used to bring the boxes the 35kms from Ekwendeni. We are told by Martha Lowole – a volunteer with LovesWorld – that the delight on the faces of the people who were given new clothes made all the effort worthwhile. We send our best wishes to all involved in this work.
Container Tales (2)
The Tale of the Kwenderana Partnership
The Church of Scotland congregations had supported and helped the folk in Ekwendeni for over 20 years. The connection became even closer when neighbouring churches Busby, Giffnock South, Greenbank and Williamwood joined together to form the Kwenderana Partnership 9 years ago. (Kwenderana means Walking Together) In November 2009 a covenant was signed between those churches and Ekwendeni CCAP church to confirm a Partnership, the main purpose of which is to support each other in prayer and by sending help in material ways. They also involve the local community and schools in their work
Since the partnership was set up there have been several exchange visits and they have sent hundreds of boxes of clothing, bedding, household goods, stationery, educational materials, medical equipment and tools to Ekwendeni and these are distributed by the Kwenderana Committee in Malawi, not only in Ekwendeni, but also in the villages and through Prayer Houses in the outlying area. They have also sponsored children through secondary education and raised money to repair boreholes and help with building school classrooms
Container Tales (1)
The Tale of the Orange Elephant
Early in 2013 an unusual delivery arrived at the Strachur store. It included 2 elephants, a horse, 2 motorbikes and a fire engine – all part of a complete set of playground equipment sent from Ballymena in Northern Ireland on its way to a school at Msongwe, just outside Mzuzu, Malawi.
On loading day Trustee Alan Laverock undertook to test some of the equipment – namely an orange elephant! The whole lot, including swings, see-saws and slides were loaded into the container.
Scroll forward 15 months, and Alan was reunited with his little orange friend in its new home in Malawi where it gives much enjoyment to the local children – and, we suspect, to Alan!!!
The third container to be sent from Dundee loaded on Saturday 5th July and is now on its way to Antwerp on the first leg of its sea journey to Malawi. Congratulations to all the team in Dundee. The variety of goods loaded into our containers is enormous – clothing, shoes, bedding, hospital and educational supplies, bicycles, household goods, sewing & knitting machines, craft materials, building and electrical supplies, toys, computers and tools. But what happens to all these goods when they get to Malawi? Where do they all go and who receives them?
Firstly, we are very grateful to Regent Gondwe (Senior Administrative Officer at Ekwendeni Hospital) and Jeffrey Mwala (Administrative Officer in Charge at Ekwendeni Hospital) who organise a team to unload the container and oversee the unloading at Ekwendeni, inform recipients that there are boxes on board for them so that they can be there to collect their goods and store boxes for those who cannot be there at the unloading. Without their help the work just could not continue.
Over the next few days we will post a short series of “Container Tales” with just a few of the stories of goods sent and received
A bridge for Henga
The Henga Valley is a fertile tract of land north east of Rumphi in Northern Malawi. In 2010, funds were made available for the people of the Henga Valley to purchase 2 bullocks and a plough to help improve food production. Sue visited the bullocks last year and found them (now names John and Charles) healthy and well cared for.
However the improvement in the lives of the people of the area was being held back by the lack of good roads, and in particular, a safe bridge over a deep gully.
In Spring 2013, John surveyed the “bridge” and work was begun during the autumn with local people, including Rev Major Highson Gondwe, supplying the labour. Unfortunately the bridge could not be finished in the time John had in Malawi, but he left instructions for the stabilising of the sides of the gully and returned this Spring to finish the bridge when the bridge slab was cast in concrete. The roadway approaches will be completed by the local community. The bridge will open up the village at Henga for domestic traffic – kids will be able to get to school all year round and commercial crops, such as cabbage, onions, maize etc., will be able to get to market.
FCL 92 arrives in Ekwendeni
We have heard that the latest container from Strachur arrived and was unloaded this afternoon (28th June) It has taken just 2 months from Strachur to Ekwendeni and Jeffrey Mwala, the co-ordinator of Primary Health Care for the Synod of Livingstonia sent us this message:-
I write to inform you that we have successfully off-loaded the container Shipment No. FCL 92 EKW this afternoon here at Ekwendeni Hospital. Most of the members whose items were in it came to witness and collect them.
We want to commend your trust for the untiring support being rendered to us in this country. Please extend our appreciation to all who share their resources to us so that we can serve God’s people well. May God continue blessing your trust and all others supporting us.
We pass on the thanks of all who receive the goods to those who donate, collect, pack, list and load containers in Strachur and Dundee
Thanks from Ekwendeni
We recently received this letter from Kistone Mhango – Director of the Primary Health Care Department of Ekwendeni Hospital:-
CHURCH OF CENTRAL AFRICA, PRESBYTERIAN
SYNOD OF LIVINGSTONIA
Greetings from Ekwendeni Primary Health Care Department. On behalf of the department, I am writing this letter to express our sincere thanks for the gifts that came to PHC Department through the recent container. We received the clothes for the children and knitted cloths for adults. We distributed these clothes during one of our static clinics and the recipients were very happy to get them as per the photos above. Besides that, we received the curtains and utensils. We have put the curtains in the windows of the PHC Block. Please extend our heart- felt appreciation to individuals, groups and congregations and of course to the Raven Trust team for organizing and put these items together for us. May God bless you abundantly.
Beekeeping in Malawi and Kenya
During his visit to Malawi, John visited the Livingstonia Beekeepers Cooperative – the end result of a project Begun by the Raven Trust 10 years ago when John was asked to send hives from the UK so that poor widows and families could generate a little income. Instead John taught locals to make their own hives and organised the training of Hudson Chisambo who, in turn, trained others in beekeeping and production of honey with the help of a colourful little book “Bees in Central Africa” which was written by Paul Latham and translated into the local language. In 2006 the “Honey House” was built to provide a clean space to produce, bottle and label the honey ready for sale. The cooperative now has 54 members who, between them, produces 7 tons of honey last year and Hudson has become a “trainers of trainers” in demand all over Malawi and beyond.
On his way home last week, John stopped off in Kenya at the request of a charity working there, to visit a community who would like to do the same as the Livingstonia group and advise them. He explained how they could progress with simple tools and equipment. Paul Latham’s book has already been printed in Swahili – the local language – and, it is hoped, that Hudson might also be able to visit to train and advise.
We have received a letter from Jim McGill of the Water and Sanitation department of the Synod of Livingstonia thanking the Raven Trust for the gift of a special water test kit which was donated to us.
Jim writes – We are assisting villages with potable water. Wells are drilled to 30 meters by hand in this area, which decreases the costs of water production and therefore allows us to produce more wells from the donations given for this work.
The geology of the area is challenging as it is at the end of the copper belt and on the rift valley and is such that there are variable concentrations of salts within the aquifers below the villages Although we find that the hand-drilling technology works very well in this area, we could not know the whether the concentrations of the salts were too great for the water to be considered potable. The Test Kit allowed us to see exactly how much salt is in the water, so that we could then determine which aquifer we needed to target for the village water supply.
This gift has been a tremendous assistance in our work to provide safe and drinkable water that will better lives through improved health.
First Dundee container arrives in Ekwendeni
FCL 90 EKW – the first Raven Trust container to be loaded in Dundee arrived in Ekwendeni today and was unloaded amid great excitement and happiness. Mr Regent Gondwe, Hospital Administrator at Ekwendeni Hospital kindly sent us this picture of the container being opened and unloading getting underway.
Congratulations to the Dundee team!
From beginning to end
The second container (FCL 93) to leave from our new depot in Dundee was loaded on Saturday 15th March. The weather was fine and a large team turned up to help load and to feed the volunteers. Thanks to all.
On Wednesday 18th March FCL 91 was unloaded at Ekwendeni. Mr Regent Mataka Gondwe, Senior Administrative Officer at Ekwendeni Hospital, sent us photos of the unloading along with a note of thanks to all those who donated the goods and all those who gave their time and energy to load the container. FCL 91 was loaded at Strachur on 17th December 2013, so it has taken almost exactly 3 months to reach its destination. We pray that the contents of the container will be used wisely and will bring joy to the people of Malawi.