By Duncan Mlanjira
Charitable organization Blantyre Round Table No. 20 on Saturday once again honored its annual social fellowship commitment when it treated kids at Mpemba Reformatory Centre to a Christmas luncheon at the institution based in Blantyre along the Chikwawa Road.
The kids were first taken on a leisure bus ride from Mpemba through the streets of Blantyre Central Business District all the way along Masauko Chipembere Highway to Chichiri Shopping Mall where they were treated to ice cream as a preamble.
Then they were driven to Limbe and back along Kenyatta Drive to MBC at Njamba through to Kudya trading centre before turning off for home through Zingwangwa and Stella Maris Secondary School — all the way they were singing joyful Christmas songs.
After the luncheon, prepared by special private caterers hired by Blantyre Round Table, they all gathered in the institution’s hall where the Tablers made various donations such as 30 mattresses courtesy of Vitafoam, 200kgs of maize flour, 50 liters of cooking oil from Kukoma, 100kgs of rice, 150 kgs of beans, 2 bales of sugar, two footballs and one netball from Bricon Sports, detergent soap, kitchen utensils, water saving buckets and clothes.
The bus ride was courtesy of SS Rent-a-Car and the ice cream treat was donated by Kips restaurant.
After the presentation, the activities continued with a football match between the kids and the Tablers, which was gleefully enjoyed by everyone as even the girls from the institution joined in.
In her appreciation speech, the institution’s Principal Georgina Navicha said though this is an annual tradition by the Tablers, they do not take it for granted but as a special day that the kids enjoy immensely.
“Some of these kids come from all over the country and have never really seen the beauty of City of Blantyre when they were being brought here and giving them such a chance to go on the bus ride is something they cherish.
“Our role here is to reform them after been in conflict with the law and when you visit us like this, it is also one way of reforming them in order that they get inspired to work hard in school so that one day they can be just like you.”
She then turned to the kids, who at all this were very attentive and never disturbed the proceedings in any way, and told them that it was possible for them to become responsible citizens like the Tablers and all the people they have been in touch with.
“We really are very grateful of this donation. We are an institution that is administered under the Ministry of Gender, Disability, Children and Social Welfare but we most times run out of funds because we receive inadequate funding from government.
“We really appreciate it when we receive such a huge donation for the welfare of these kids, whose numbers always fluctuate on a weekly basis. They come here literally in the clothes they were arrested in and we have to provide for them with fresh clothes and toiletries on top of feeding and accommodating them.
“We have a primary school here on campus but for Standard 1 to 5. Those older are enrolled at a nearby public primary school with whom we are in partnership. But we lack academic materials and we use their desks on a daily basis for use in the dining hall where we had lunch.
“Even the chairs the kids and the others guests are sitting on belong to the Catholic Church for use on their Sunday services which they have with the kids here. We encourage the kids to attend church services where they get spiritual counseling on top of the moral counseling we give them.”
She said the kids that are over 10 years old and had never been to school all their lives are taught basic literacy education and vocational skills like carpentry, tailoring, brick laying and basic agricultural skills like small scale animal husbandry like chicken, rabbit and goat rearing.
Convenor of the event, Tabler Spencer Mwandemange applauded the institution for doing an excellent job in reforming the kids, saying the public is always monitoring what they do.
“We come here to appreciate the services you offer here because we know you need extra assistance. We want you kids to work had in school so that one day you can become responsible citizen and even come back here to do what we do.
“You can do it, I can see it from the way you behave yourselves. Trust in yourselves that one day you can become like us,” Mwandemange said.