We’ve had a fantastic, uplifting day in Malawi today. An early start and a long day but wonderful. Our day started with a visit to a preschool funded by HOPEHIV. Here’s the team in front of the new kitchen so they can start the kids’ day off with porridge.

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To start your day with 40 of the preschool children (out of over 100) is brilliant. They’re incredibly cute.

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Vulnerable kids from the poorest communities like Bilira District will struggle when they go to the Government funded primary schools because class sizes can reach 150 and if they haven’t mastered basic literacy and numeracy they get left behind. It also provides the youngest with basic protection and helps the community to understand the importance of education.

Next was a visit to a couple of success stories: two young people trained and supported by HOPEHIV through Blantyre Synod to learn a trade. We met Ezra, a carpenter, who has also trained 4 more youngsters off his own back. Then we met Rhoda, a tailor.

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The tools and training Rhoda received has transformed the lives of all of her family and the broader community. Her story is in this video.

 

Following that, we had our first introduction to a VSLA – Village Savings and Loan Association – a relatively new initiative for HOPEHIV whereby a Self Help Group pools the village’s money and provides small loans to help their emerging businesses. We’ll tell you more about this when we get home; here are the ladies in action.

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Our final stop was a gathering of 4 “Childrens’ Corners”, their name for Kids Clubs, where they entertained us with songs, dancing, stories about their lives and even some acrobatics. We’ll share their stories in more detail later but, as ever, part of the joy is spending time playing. The local girls dressed Ellie up in one of their costumes – she may not entirely know what’s going on.

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Mark breaks out the bubbles and finds a friend, glorious smile to the fore.

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Ellie and Campbell get mobbed.

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That’s it from us for our second day. We’re heading north tomorrow and we won’t be able to post a blog. We’re staying in Salima where we won’t have hot running water so we certainly won’t have Internet access. We’ll touch base on Thursday when we can get online.

Tuonana!