Over the last couple of months, our friends in Malawi have been reporting a very good rain season with bumper harvests in some areas. The fact that Malawi has produced some excess crops this year should bode well for food security over the coming year.
At the start of February families visited the green grass at the Chifundo Campus to collect their monthly covid support packages.
The packages contain a mix of both nutritional & hygiene products to help them through this tough time. We thank you all for your continued support which has been identified by The Trust in Zomba as a key aspect contributing to the health & nutrition of our children & their families at this time.
With your support & a good rain season just behind us there is continued hope for our families & young students for the year ahead.
2020 was a testing year for us all, but even moreso for our friends in Malawi. But when times were tough, we were once again left amazed with the resolve & unrelenting support from you, our donors.
Though a tough year, there have been some incredibly positive strides made by our students. Of particular note is the progression of Eric to University. Such an amazing achievement in this current time & one sure to provide further inspiration to the students looking to emulate his success.
This year we also introduced a new scholarship opportunity to support students like Eric who advance to 3rd level and students who might progress towards Polytechnical skills. If you would like further information on this please get in touch!
We can only express our sincere gratitude for your continued support, a gratitute which is shared & expaned upon so wonderfully by the children in the centre of our 2020 Newsletter below.
Thank you so much for your continued support to the Chifundo programme & send you all our best wishes for a brighter 2021 for us all.
Hopefully, at some point in 2021 we may be able to visit our friends in Zomba, Malawi again!
Thank you once again for supporting our Chifundo Golf outing this year. It was a great success and the picture below shows the joy, opportunity and change you are bringing to the 75 Chifundo students in Zomba, Malawi
Thanks also to everyone at Greystones Golf Club & everyone who generously gave up their time in order to ensure the event could be run in an efficient & safe manner. Given these challenging times we face not only here but in Malawi too, we can only express our gratitude for your unwaivering support.
On the day 32 teams played, with the results below. Congratulations to all involved.
First (50.67) – Hugh Gray & John Flaherty (Beechpark), Stephen Gunning & Michael Clarke (Corrstown)
Second (51.50) – Pat Raftery, Joe Coleman, Frank Looby & Pat O’Regan – All from Greystone.
Third (52.83) – Fiontain McKenna, Darren Quigley (Elm Green), Larry O’Reilly, Brian Quigley (Woodbrook)
Fourth (53.40) – Seamus Clancy Team.
Mixed Teams shared with 55.84; Ray and Mags Hogan (Greystones) with Tom and Olwyn Ryan (Elm Park). Dan and Jackie Shanahan with John and Susan O’Dwyer (all Woodbrook)
Thank you all so much for your fantastic support. These funds raised on the day will go to ensuring we can continue to support our young Chifundo members on their educational journey as clasess start to resume in Malawi over the coming days & weeks ahead.
Always a highlight in the Chifundo, our annual Golf Clasic is back, with a Covid-friendly format. Your continued support is welcomed. As you are all aware, now more than ever the children need our renewed support. Every effort on the day will be made to facilitate social distancing & all other relevant guidelines to best ensure the health & safety of all involved.
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations as it is a limited field and can only be reserved through John. Or, you can text 087 2360622.
With effect on April 1st, the Board of Directors, in consultation with the Trust in Zomba have enacted a COVID 19 Support Plan. This supprt plan is targeted at providing the children of Chifundo & their families with some basic essentials like supplies of food, cleaning & hygiene products as well as some personal protective masks to wear during this ongoing pandemic.
Each family will receive a monthly support package (for further details on this package please see below) that equated to a value of €50 per family which equates to €3,500.00 per month. We will continue to monitor the situation taking onboard the advice of the Trust in Zomba.
Please click the PayPal button below to support. Continue reading below for further information!
A Letter to our Donors
Thank you for your support over all the years. With confidence but with heavy hearts we send you this appeal for help in the midst of what is for all of us a very strange time.
For almost 15 years our work has provided the very best education opportunity for now 70 children in Zomba, Malawi. This includes their nutritional needs as well as school fees, uniforms, transport, extra-curricular activities etc. This has been a very enjoyable challenge thanks to the support of our many friends of Chifundo, like you.
Normally we depend on regular fundraising activities during the year, however since the Corona Virus struck, already five events have been cancelled, depleting our resources.
Suddenly, all is changed; the virus which is having a serious impact on all of us is having a devastating impact on these children and their families in Zomba. Instead of transporting them to school and providing all the necessary supports we are now faced with the reality of having them locked down in their home villages with nothing. Families who are locked down in their homes and not allowed travel to the local village to trade, scavenge or barter for their basic survival needs, will starve. Like us they are meant to social distance, which is virtually impossible for them.
In consultation with our local Trust in Zomba, and our Board of Directors here, we have decided from the beginning of April to impliment a Covid 19 Support Plan to include the families of all the children. This includes giving each family a bag of maize, a small bucket of dried fish, 4 kg of Beans, cooking oil, table salt, sugar and other nutritional foods every month to help them in their struggle to stay alive. Further to this additional support, we have also included basic hygiene requirements such as sanitisers, soaps, a bucket per house to draw water from the local stream or well, masks, etc. Our tailoring teacher is already in the Campus workshop making masks from a pattern which we emailed to them earlier.
Inspired by your generosity in the past and the contribution of our work together to educate some of the poorest of the poor to achieve their full potential, we invite you to contribute towards this special appeal and again work together to….Change a Future….
Some suggestions on how to help are shown below.
Thanks and best wishes for your health and safety.
From all at Chifundo.
Our extra Covid 19 commitment in Zomba from the 1st April is:
To help protect the lives and safety of our children and their families in the poorest of environments during the Pandemic we have committed a monthly support fund extending to each home of our 70 children:
1 Bag of Maize
Small bucket of dried fish.
4 kg Beans
Cooking oil, table salt, Sugar.
Other nutrional foods .
Large bucket to fetch water and provide washing point in home.
Soaps and cleansers
Masks. Our tailor has started making them in the Campus.
Many of these families live for their daily bread.
Have you made some savings?
Monthly petrol bill!
Daily Coffees/ scones etc.!
Visit to Barber or Hairdresser!
Bus or Rail Travel!
Refund from Health Insurers!
Children’s sports activities!
Personal trainer or Joe Wicks!
Occasional meal out!
Visits to the Pub!
Golf competition fees!
There must be more….
How you can help?
Our additional outlay in Euro is €50 per family x 70. This is €3,500 each month. We would welcome your support for our often forgotten people at such a sad time
Pope Francis in a video message for Holy Week said that what is needed today is some ‘Creative Love’, without elaborating he states: “Even if we are isolated, thought and spirit can go far with the creativity of love. This is what we need today: the creativity of love. This is what is needed today: the creativity of love”. At a time like this when we ourselves are so vulnerable it is difficult to comprehend how our friends in Zomba, Malawi, whose lives are full of vulnerability at all times may be coping.
We hope and pray that their normal resilience prevails. Communication is difficult and we await an update from them since the announcements of their first 3 cases.
We continue to fund all their education and nutritional needs and maintain the Campus as a place of creativity for our 70 students. (Gatherings of up to 100 are still allowed there). These Easter weeks will, we hope see the Craft workshops for tailoring and carpentry continue, the library will be open and IT and other creative activities will happen.
Our big challenge is that as with most other outreach groups much of our fund raising events are cancelled and we will be stretched. Any contribution through this web or directly will be greatly appreciated.
However, not much can be done in the short term as we accept the challenges before us. What we must reflect on and be open to, is how each of us cancreatively support the project as we recover from this Virus here, and ensure that our project to educate the poorest of the poor to achieve their full potential continues.
May we say a special thank you to the many of you who have expressed your good wishes and offers of support into the future. Also, you who contribute regularly to the support of all.
We express our sincere thanks to GeoScan Subsurface Surveys Inc. & Xradar BC Inc. The Vancouver based companies have come together and approximately 14 members of staff will be taking part in the BMO Vancouver Marathon on the 3rd of May to raise funds for Chifundo.
The team are well into preparations for the marathon with each participant taking a distance to challenge themselves. Distances vary from the full-marathon, to half, to team relays where 4 members contribute to the full-marathon distance together.
Friend of Chifundo Aoife Cryan has come up with a unique opportunity for the Charity at Oxford University where she is studying for her Doctorate. As well as her academic prowess Aoife is also captain of the University Gaelic Football Team.
In preparation for their annual match with Cambridge Aoife persuaded her Dad, Paul to sponsor the jerseys for the ladies team. Paul and Niamh who have a long association with Chifundo decided that rather than using a Company’s Logo they would offer this valuable opportunity to Chifundo to use our Charities Logo on the University Jerseys for all their games. (See Oxford University new strip)
Unfortunately the Inter Varsity game planned for the 23rd Feb had to be postponed and now Aoife and her team are awaiting their next fixture. They will inform us of the planned date and hopefully some Chifundo friends will be present in Oxford as will Paul, Niamh and other family members. This is a wonderful opportunity for the Charity, particularly at a time when our first students are entering University in Malawi.
Many of you will remember Paul and Niamh who have both served as Directors of the Chifundo Foundation. Any of you who followed our Annual Golf Classic through the photo gallery may be surprised to know that Aoife and her sisters were the photographers for all the early years.
Below are some words from Eric a member of the Chifundo Foundation. This year Eric will become our 2nd studet to advance to Third Level Education. We hope to have an update on that shortly. In the meantime, please take a look below at what life with Chifundo has meant to Eric.
Located in Zomba, Malawi is a foundation that has raised a smart platform to my education. It further touches many souls every year. My school life has been so amazing since I joined Chifundo Foundation in 2008.
My name is Eric Phiri and I am 16 years old. I would really love to express my total feelings of gratitude Chifundo Foundation has positively impacted to my education. To begin with “It’s heaven to me”.
A flicker of hope began when I started my nursery school at Chirunga private school, located behind the Great Hall of University of Malawi. The foundation did all the best it could to make me excel. I was given a pair of black shoes, 2 pairs of school uniform, writing materials, school bag and plenty of food, and drinks to eat whilst at school during break times. A bright future was indeed cooked for me because hunger wouldn’t be a barrier to my education. If my memory serves me correctly I was on position 5 in the last of nursery.
In class 1, I was performing extremely nice until teachers decided to move to the next class 2 I still remained humbled because the foundation kept on with its Godly support. I maintained position 1 in all the three solid terms in class 2.class 3, 4 and 5 was so lit and marvellous because I still maintained position 1 and 2 only. Besides that the foundation kept on showering me.
In 2013 I was moved to Chesa private school to pursue class 6 and 7. I became so worried when I came on position 17 in a social studies test whilst in class 6. I urged myself to work hard until I attained position 3 in the first term. Bearing that worry in mind I worked hard all the time until I would be on position 1 and 2 only. Hard work really pays.
In the last term of class 7, I sat for the Malawi National Examination Board Exams. I was successfully selected to Loyola Jesuit Secondary School. Mathematics was downfall whilst at secondary school, but I still remained good in science subjects.
I learnt at Loyola Jesuit form 2015 to 2019. I also sat for the Malawi National Examination Board Exams from 18th June 2019 to 2nd July 2019. I have a distinction score of 11 points. The foundation was providing for my bus fare too for me to travel to Kasungu district because it’s far away from Zomba.
Well that’s my primary and secondary school life I now look forward to more greater love as I move to University. However I also hold a good vision and plan for the future Chifundo Foundation.
My vision after I have successfully finished my university with a master’s degree is to run any form of entrepreneurship activity besides working so that I direct 70 % of the gains to the foundation. Secondly, I would be happy to help teachers from Ireland by teaching my fellow friends while they are away in Ireland so that learning is done throughout the year and seasonally.
My plan is to visit Ireland at the age of 27 to represent the perfect team of Mr and Mrs Chilewani.
Lastly, thumbs up to John Cogavin and his massive tireless and hardworking team in Ireland, you really deserve Gods award and blessings. Thanks again to all those in Ireland who greatly support us but have never seen them before. To Mr and Mrs Chilewani team right here in Zomba God will never let you down.
The Farm showed some great signs of progress this year. Not only had there been renewed efforts in terms of planning but also more and new produce had been grown and successfully sold at local markets.
As always, some of the nutritional farm produce is given to the children as part of their food packs & some of the produce is sold. This all the while helps foster a growing entreprenurial spirit, while also ensuring the nutritional well-being of the children.
One of the initiatives introduced this year was to involve parents more in the campus. An outcome of this saw some land set aside for the parents to grow some maize. Parents came to the centre to help grow & harvest the maize. They decided that these crops will be given out to families most in need should there be a poor harvest.
It is a long-term goal of the foundation to have the campus and its running costs on the ground in Malawi become a self-sustaining exercise. Renewed efforts like this will continue to help us reach that goal, while also providing for the children and their families in times of need.