JBH Property Consultancy News

Malawi Orphans

Written By Dave Armstrong

Hey, I’m Dave. I was a trustee of Friends of Mulanje Orphans since 2007. Let me tell you why.

On the first of December (World Aid’s Day) at the Aids Day vigil in Manchester 2004, I heard BBC Radio 3 producer Les Pratt talk about his event that had taken place that year raising money for Action Aid. He talked so passionately about the people he had met in Malawi suffering from the pandemic.

At that time I was selling my business MPV Packaging Ltd. Les was talking about the importance of a second trip in 2006 and I made a vow that evening that if my company sale went through as planned, I would be on that trip known as Mission Malawi.

Guess what it did. Travelling to Malawi and cycling, hiking and kayaking across the beautiful lands coupled with meeting those suffering from HIV and other illness was life changing. Considering 1 in 7 people are affected by HIV those in Malawi cope so well with the issues HIV throws.

I can vividly remember our bikes being stuck in mud on African roads, our support truck crashed into the side of the road having slipped off the road and what happened in that village was the greatest meeting of 34 “azungu” Westerners and hundreds of Malawi men, women and children who came out to play, sing and dance with us. It was truly magical. Later, they helped us push out the truck and get the mud out of the brakes of our bikes.

On returning to the UK I wanted to do more. I met Mary and Keith Woodworth the founders of Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO). I spent 11 hours with them discussing issues, fundraising, watching videos and following that meeting I decided to return to Malawi a few weeks later with them.

On arrival at FOMO I was greeted by hundreds of children, dancing and singing and smiling. I toured all the sites FOMO currently operated, I handed out blankets, clothes, shoes, talked to children about their life story, watched football matches, played in the nursery schools with the little ones. It was a truly wonderful experience. There were deep routed issues, but FOMO was addressing the needs of the children by food, health and education. It was also their parent.

Since that trip, I have helped to spread awareness and raise funds to continue the great work of FOMO. I have held fundraising, done presentations at schools, packed containers, rallied friends, collected goods, taken visitors to Malawi, managed to get ITV to commission a documentary, organised the Malawi National Football Team to train with our FOMO football teams and enjoyed every second of it.

One of those I have taken to Malawi is undertaking over 300 miles of running events this year alone to help raise money – thanks Brendan!

I do these things because I can see what a difference this makes to the lives of those children and as they grow up educated and healthy how it impacts positively on their future lives. I am also blown over by the generosity of people. I ask a tenant for computers, they give. I ask a stranger to help pack our container, they do. I ask school children to donate an old pair of trainers, they do.

FOMO has improved year on year, with new centres and new facilities – in more recent times adding a HIV clinic and High School. The Clinic operates an ambulance to do essential outreach work in the community and is now certified to administer essential ARV drugs to help those to live with HIV.

Like a lot of charities, raising funds is hard. That’s why I write this. Can you spare £20 per month to help. Just £20 per month pays for one child’s annual education. It pays for their food, their school clothes, their books and any medical needs.

If I share with you the following, I hope you will find it in your heart to help.
FOMO is made up of volunteers. The money you give us goes directly as aid to help FOMO orphans – i.e. we have no UK paid staff. What other charity can honestly say that?

Please email me for a direct debit mandate fomouk@hotmail.com and check out our website www.fomo.co.uk – Many thanks for reading and supporting FOMO.

Dave