Welcome to our Spring 2021 newsletter. Firstly, a brief update on the current Covid-19 situation in Malawi. The wave of virus transmission which surged more strongly from December 2020 now appears to be slowing again. Joshua’s Field Officers have been regularly visiting communities to provide accurate information and advice about the virus, and now that the life-saving vaccine has arrived, they are continuing to reassure the villagers about its safety and importance as there are many misconceptions. The new PA system in our vehicle has enabled the broadcasting of this vital information which helps keep staff and community members informed. Education is still suffering significant disruption – schools were shut for 5 weeks in January – and schooling will undoubtedly be a priority for a long time to come. We are extremely grateful for the passion and commitment of our staff team in Malawi who have had to constantly adapt and innovate to cope with the varying demands over the past year.
Growing hope for the future
Over the last year, we’ve been working with communities to prepare them for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our community-based childcare centres depend on fortified porridge, known as Likuni phala, to help support children’s nutrition. For many children, it will be the only meal they get that day. When these centres aren’t able to open, we prepare take home packs of likuni phala to make sure children are still getting this vital daily food.
We were also concerned that the impact of the global COVID-19 pandemic would make buying commercially manufactured likuni phala more difficult and expensive. The solution has been to help communities start to produce their own porridge – hopefully a more sustainable way of providing this food in the future. This has involved working with community members to identify land, irrigating the land to ensure good cropping and training community members in producing the porridge.
As you’ll see in the photos from Nchokera, communities have been successful in growing the crops (maize and groundnut) and producing porridge. There have been some other positive impacts of the project – children prefer the taste of the home made likuni phala. We’ve also noticed that there is less wastage – the work involved in making the porridge means the volunteers are taking pride in what they’ve produced and making sure it’s distributed efficiently!
Join our band of regular supporters!
Our 3-year grant from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, which supports our Early Childhood Development work, also ends this Spring, and we would love to be able to continue the huge progress we’ve already made to the lives of vulnerable pre-school children in our village communities. We’re aware that this is an especially difficult time financially for many people, and remain so grateful for the support we are already receiving, but we still need to increase our income. If this could be by a regular donation of as little as £10 monthly, it would greatly help our future planning and go towards essential running costs, particularly of fuel for the vehicles without which our field officers’ efforts would be greatly impaired.
Regular donations can be set up in two ways – outlined here.
To say thank you to our regular supporters – old and new, we’re planning to start sending special information updates about how their donations are helping. Look out for the first of these in April.
How to help us through online shopping – every little helps!
If you’re doing more of your shopping online, then you can help us for free at the same time.
Eligible purchases through Amazon Smile get a 0.5% donation to Joshua. Register at www.smile.amazon.co.uk and choose us as your charity. Click on the link to go straight to our page.
Using Give as you Live for purchases with major retailers, including John Lewis, Waitrose, Argos, Boden and Booking.com, also raises between 0.5 and 4% on each purchase. To register, visit www.giveasyoulive.com/startpage
As always, thank you for all your support, it really does make a difference.