Destitute household in Chilobwe
* We have the responsibility to contribute to the well-being of the communities they operate in—First Capital Bank (FCB)
* We are cognizant of the need for cholera support that is also at risk of spike because of the cyclone—Standard Bank
By Duncan Mlanjira
First Capital Bank (FCB) has released K100 million while Standard Bank injected K90 million, making a total of K190 million as relief packages towards assisting victims of Cyclone Freddy disaster while Standard Bank also included K90 package to go towards the containment of the cholera outbreak.
FCB channeled its K100 million support to people who have been affected through the Malawi Red Cross Society and speaking at the handover event in Blantyre, the Bank’s Head of Marketing Twikale Chirwa said they have the responsibility to contribute to the well-being of the communities they operate in.
“By helping the survivors and victims of Cyclone Freddy, we are fulfilling our corporate social responsibility and helping build goodwill with the communities we serve,” he said.
National treasurer for Malawi Red Cross Society, Stuart Limula thanked the bank for the gesture, saying they are on the ground reaching out to victims of the disaster while appealing to other well-wishing corporates and individuals to join hands in mitigating the trauma people have suffered.
Standard Bank also supported the Malawi Red Cross Society with K90 million with K30 million going to the presidential faskforce on cholera.
Head of Brand & Marketing, Nyambura Chege said the donation is the Bank’s immediate response to the disaster and forms the preliminary stage of its humanitarian intervention as the effects of Cyclone Freddy unfold.
“However, the Bank is cognizant of the need for cholera support that is also at risk of spike because of the cyclone. In this hour of need, and like in all times of emergencies, we at Standard Bank Plc declare our solidarity with every Malawian who has been affected — directly or indirectly — by these two disasters.”
The response to the cholera outbreak is in taking cognizance that due to the cyclone, most affected areas’ pit latrines have been destroyed — thereby can exacerbate the outbreaks the disease.
On Tuesday, being fortunate that the devastating effects of Cyclone Freddy has not claimed deaths or major injuries as of yet in Bangwe, the terrible storm still has caused a lot of damage in the township as many victims have lost their homes — with so many toilets that have been destroyed.
Thus the area’s charitable organisation, Bangwe HIV/Aids Self-Help Initiative (BAHASI) may lead to an increase in cholera cases again since Bangwe is one of the locations that has been badly affected by the ongoing epidemic.
“Right now there are so many toilets that have been destroyed in the community,” says BAHASI’s board chairperson Reena Purshotam in a statement. “We are afraid that this may lead to an increase in cholera cases again, so we are also asking those who can donate chlorine in order to prevent cholera to please do so.
As BAHASI, we are appealing for special assistance to those who would like to support us by providing financial or material donations to assist those who are affected by Cyclone Freddy by donating blankets, plastic sheets and domestic materials.”
She provided bank details as follows:
National Bank of Malawi
Customs Road Service Centre
Account Name: Bangwe HIV/AIDS Self Help Initiative
Account number: 1291971
For those needing more details are being asked to contact BAHASI through Purshotam on +265888567151; volunteers Katie +447470186836 and Phoebe +447964081346.
“Thank you in advance to those who can assist us at this time. May God bless all who put their hands up to help at this moment.”
BAHASI, based in peri-urban high density populated Bangwe Township in Limbe, strives to improve the welfare of vulnerable groups affected and infected by HIV/Aids as well as operating an under-5 pre-school.
The NGO also encourages youth participation in social activities and prevention of environmental degradation and it is based on full community since members consist of volunteers from the community and is open to all.
Although members are encouraged to make monthly contributions which they are rarely able to do so due to their personal financial difficulties but make it up by enthusiastically participating in various fundraising activities.
Board Trustees and members contribute more than the monthly membership fee and they have done several fundraising activities such as Big Walks within Blantyre City and more recently a Blantyre to Lilongwe fundraising cycling challenge.
Every year, the charity receives volunteers from overseas — usually from Sweden, Scotland or the UK — who are normally students on their gap year before University, who help out in the pre-school and they also help some of the older children with their homework.
BAHASI was established in 2004 as a community based organization (CBO) that went on to get registered with Blantyre City Assembly and the Blantyre District Social Welfare office in 2007.
In 2016, it was registered and incorporated as a charitable organization under the Trustees Incorporation Act.
In its home based care, it looks looks after chronically ill patients by providing them with food and counseling and also offer counselling to members of the community affected and infected with HIV/Aids.
The members also clean the surroundings of its home based care patients and provide them with water for their personal sanitation.