Golfers charity Chip Inn Masters partners with Red Cross Society to assist Cyclone Freddy survivors at Nguludi

General Manager Bobby Singh making the symbolic presentation 

* Optichem Fertilizers invests K10.5 million as relief packages for affected families in Ndirande

By Duncan Mlanjira & Victor Singano Jnr

While they enjoy their favourite sport, golfers at Blantyre Sports Club formed a camaraderie grouping, trending as Chip Inn Masters,,that was enhanced further by initiating an annual charity drive — through which they identify a project they can assist every year.


Soon after Cyclone Freddy struck, they swiftly mobilized funds that totaled K2 million to assist survivors of the flash floods that devastated the Southern Region.

And having noted that concentration of alleviating the plight of survivors is for Blantyre City, more especially Chilobwe and Ndirande — where many lives were lost and houses were washed away — the Chip Inn Masters engaged the Malawi Red Cross Society, which identified Nguludi in Chiradzulu as an area which was not spared of disaster but little is known about it.

The grouping’s Master-in-Charge, Nestor Msowoya said they first wished to present the cheque to the Malawi Red Cross Society but they changed their mind and decided to assist the Society by procuring the food supplies themselves and distribute directly.

“We were so taken aback when the Malawi Red Cross Society appraised us of the gravity of destruction in Nguludi and we decided to assist them by alleviating the burden of procuring the food supplies and transporting it to Nguludi,” Msowoya said.

“We bought the specially packaged food supplies that included maize flour, rice, cooking oil, sugar, salt, soya pieces amongst others. One Chip Inn Master, Grant Mwenechanya provided his lorry to ease the Malawi Red Cross Society’s transportation costs.

“We just wanted to visit the area and assess the challenges that are being faced here [at evacuation camp that was set up at Montfort Demonstration Primary School in the compound of Catholic University].


“Our membership consists of business executives from various corporate companies and personal businesses and what we have analysed here, they might decide to impress on their management teams to assist in the areas we have not been able to.”

Msowoya works for Illovo Sugar Malawi Plc, which has already reached out to survivors at its Nchalo Estate, Chilobwe, Ndirande, Lunzu and Machinjiri.

“It’s sad that these people here in Chiradzulu are already vulnerable and to be affected like this is a tragedy we all are supposed to come in and support the government to alleviate their most immediate basic needs,” he said.

The evacuation camp’s leader, Grace Filipo said at first they had over 200 people, some of whom their houses didn’t immediately collapsed but just evacuated for safety’s sake.

Some returned to the homesteads but are going back to the camp as their houses continued to collapse further — thus she appealed for more assistance such as provision of water buckets, kitchen utensils as well as plastic sheeting to elect temporary toilets.

The name Chip Inn Masters derived from the last spot where after finishing all 18 holes, they sit down at a specially constructed refreshment bar — the 19th hole — where they analyze their scores and wait for others to finish their rounds before identifying the champion of the day.

After four months, the best player over that period earns the title Master-in-Charge, who coordinates a charity project they need to focus on at the end of the year and Cyclone Freddy effects was one that they swiftly decided to assist.

Meanwhile, manufacturers of fertilizers in the country, Optichem, joined the support drive by reaching out to Ndirande residents camping at Matope Primary School with various relief items blankets, cooking oil, maize flour, soap, sugar, salt, plates, worth K10.5 million.

General Manager, Bobby Singh said they thought it wise to intervene knowing that the company has reached this far because of the support Malawians always give to them — hence the need to assist them as part of their corporate social responsibility.

“It is very sad that we have lost many lives which we believe it is God who decides, but now we want to help contribute to those people who are suffering in order to reduce their pain and challenges they are facing at the camp,” Singh said.

One of the beneficiaries, Mirika Sumani Kalonga, while thanking Optichem for the timely support which she said will assist directly in their lives since they lost everything during the floods, also appealed to well-wishers for provision of tents so that they can move from the school and allow the children to continue attending classes because camping at school is also killing the future of the learners.

“We are missing a lot of things in our everyday life mostly the basic needs like food, soap, sugar, clothes and many more. Our request is that other well-wishers should emulate what Optichem has done,” she said Kalonga.

Member of Parliament for the area, Chipiliro Mpinganiira expressed his profound thanks for the support, saying over 4,000 houses were destroyed in Ndirande Township.

According to the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), as of Sunday, 476 deaths were reported while 918 are injured with 349 people still missing.

Situation in Nsanje

On Saturday, the Ministry of Education announced that following consultations with all district and education division managers, the one-week temporary suspension of primary and secondary school classes is further extending up to March 31st in the Cyclone Freddy most affected education districts of Nsanje, Chikwawa, Mulanje, Phalombe, Blantyre Rural, Blantyre Urban, Thyolo, Chiradzulu, Mwanza, Neno, Zomba Rural and Zomba Urban.

“Classes will resume on April 17 when Term 3 commences,” said the statement. “The rapid assessment of schools that the Ministry of Education has conducted in the affected districts shows that most structures such as classrooms and toilets are unsafe and hence, need certification before children can be brought to school.

“While other infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and support services need maintenance or restoration for learners to safely access schools.

“Furthermore, as of Friday, March 17th, about 230 schools were being used as holding camps for internally displaced communities.”

The Ministry further announced that all learners sitting for national and international examinations will return to school on March 27th, to start the preparations while the rest of the classes in primary and secondary school will write their end of Term 2 examinations in the first week of Term 3.