Our Malawi Scotland Partnership CEO, Vera Kamtukule, is participating in the Sleepover Challenge, an international fundraising initiative in Blantyre where top female executives are sleeping overnight at health centres to raise money for medical equipment and to increase awareness of the challenging realities mothers face.
The Sleepover Challenge is giving the volunteers a taste of the experiences of some of the expectant mothers who attend the health centre; those who sleep on the floor and cannot afford bare necessities like warm clothes and beddings for themselves and their babies. Vera will be sleeping at Zingwangwa Health Centre on Friday 25th August and raising money to support the health centres.
Read the Sleepover Challenge brochure here >>
Vera writes below of her motivation for taking part:
“I was born and raised in Blantyre City with both my parents and at the age of 7, they moved to Zingwangwa Township. We were living in an area called ‘Mondoni’ in a Blantyre City Council house because my late father used to work there at the time. My mother was also a professional woman so my siblings and I would spend the greater part of the day with the nanny or playing with friends.
“One day a friend of mine took me to Zingwangwa Health Centre, situated about 2km from my house. So I sneaked away from the nanny and followed my friend to the clinic. She explained that the clinic provides free porridge to children our age. What we did not know was that these children had to be malnourished or suffering from kwashiorkor or marasmus.
“I will never forget the taste of that porridge in my mouth! Hot, with a sweet aroma mixed with the smell of firewood, I was immediately hooked on this delicacy! I went back home and never mentioned this to the nanny nor my parents. This went on for almost a week.
“The following week, the nanny asked me where we go during those times. As a kid I could not hide the truth from her so I spilled everything. The nanny narrated this to my parents when they got back that night and my mother gave me a beating for my supposed silliness, what if something had happened to you on the way, she quizzed? I then asked her the possibility of the nanny preparing the same kind of porridge at home if they didn’t want me to continue visiting the clinic. She agreed. And that’s how my episodes at the clinic came to an end.
“Fast forward to 2017, I received this invitation in my capacity as a CEO for Malawi Scotland Partnership, I did not think twice as I thought what greater honor for me to give back to a facility that gave so much to me as a kid. And this is the reason why I will be participating in this noble cause on the 25th of August 2017 and I hereby appeal to all well-wishers to support me and others in this noble cause as we aim to use the proceeds from this to buy hospital equipment for the chosen clinics thereby making a significant contribution towards improved maternal health in Malawi."