By Duncan Mlanjira
Chiradzulu District was not spared from the incessant heavy rains that hit southern Malawi last week and members of a charity Trust Fund from Chiradzulu West mobilized themselves to assist over a hundred households with relief items on Wednesday.
The groupings treasurer Evelyn Mwapasa said initially the Trust Fund caters for paying school fees to underprivileged people from the area but after the heavy rains that affected thousands of households in the Southern Region, they asked the area’s Community Development Committee (CDC) to make some damage assessment, especially for homes who are beneficiaries of the educational system.
“We asked for such a report because we realized that if such families were affected by the heavy rains it meant even the students were greatly affected.
“It meant they would fail to attend classes because some of the basic needs they need to prepare themselves for school were destroyed when their homes collapsed.
“So the CDC went around and gave us an assessment report and the type of assistance they urgently needed. We managed to raise over K1 million which was used to purchase maize flour, salt, pails, detergent soap, plastic cup and plastic rolls of paper to cover parts of their damaged homes.”
He applauded the area’s Member of Parliament, who is also the country’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Dr. Emmanuel Fabiano for also supporting the Trust Fund’s initiative.
“I must say Dr. Fabiano has always supported the Trust Fund’s initiative right from the start. This is an apolitical grouping comprising members of sound standing in society, whose home of origin is Chiradzulu West,” said Mwapasa, who is chief executive officer for Malawi Air Cargo.
Some of the Trustees include Dr. Sosten Chiotha (executive director of LEAD in Zomba); senior prominent lawyer Masauko Msungama, who is the acting chairman after the passing on of Dr. Graham Chipande (former senior and prominent lawyer in Blantyre); Executive Director for Mwachi Ltd Medson Kalambule; Communication Expert Lauren Meke Phiri and entrepreneur Kalimba.
The affected number of people in whole of Chiradzulu was 65,380, according to statistics from Department of Disaster Management but the Trust Fund could only assist 100 households from T/A Mpama and T/A Chitera, who were most affected.
Accompanying Mwapasa was fellow Trustee, Kalambule, who explained that the Trust Fund is the brainchild of traditional leaders from area, who sat down and asked some of the people of sound standing in society who were originally from Chiradzulu West to assist in development needs of the area.
“It’s an idea that impressed all of us who were approached in order to give back to the society that raised us up to become what we are. We realized there is strength in numbers that can make a difference to our home of origin.
“The traditional leaders first priority was on education because it is a strong future investment. With the help of Dr. Fabiano we set up the CDC to be identifying the needy beneficiaries themselves.
“The idea is that once a needy student is selected to a secondary school, we pay for their school fees for one year in order to allow the parents to adjust and find means to take over in sustaining their children’s school needs.
“But there have been many instances we have paid for the children up to their final year in secondary school because of the poverty level of their parents.
“We are so happy that this Trust Fund is helping a lot of children to achieve their education dream. One day they might be on the other side and join us as one of the trustees.
“We applaud all donors who have assisted this project right from the start some six years ago and we urge the potential donors to welcome us with open arms when we will come knocking at their doors in future.”
Another project the Fund initiated was a recreational Youth Centre that shall be equipped with a library and shall also be used for career talks, whose speakers shall be the country’s high profile professionals.
Traditional leaders of the area’s visited, Village Headman Kowela and Group Village Headman Ulaya both applauded the Trustees for their gesture, saying it will help lift the morale of the affected households as they rebuild their lives.