A guest post from our wonderful member, the Mamie Martin Fund. The following, was written by Moira Dunworth- Trustee for Mamie Martin Fund.
[Image to the right, Mercy Sibande, MMF’s Malawi Manager].
"One of the benefits of membership of the Scotland Malawi Partnership is contact with fellow members. It’s so important that organisations working in similar areas share ideas and resources. Thanks to the connection made through SMP, the Mamie Martin Fund (MMF) and Maura’s Mission now work through the same person in Malawi. Mercy Sibande has been MMF’s Malawi Manager for four years. She visited Scotland in 2018 and addressed the Cross-Party Group at the Scottish Parliament during her short visit. Everyone who met her was impressed by her dedication to the cause of girls’ education and her knowledge of the lived experiences of these girls. She, herself, faced great challenges in getting her education, including losing her father at an early age. The loss or absence of a father has been shown to be an indicator of major poverty for girls in Malawi.
The Mamie Martin Fund supports girls’ education in North Malawi and has long been a member of the Scotland Malawi Partnership. We value learning about other organisations, how they work, what they do and how they manage their governance. Through SMP we met Maura’s Mission, another small Scottish charity which supports education in Malawi. Maura’s Mission works with two schools in Malawi, one in Jenda in the North and quite close to some of the MMF-supported schools and the other in the Central Region but very close to Elangeni Secondary School, which is actually in the Northern Region.
Maura’s Mission takes a slightly different approach to pupil selection and support than we take with MMF girls. However, we both support secondary school education and are committed to helping these children reach their potential. As the schools supported by Maura’s Mission are in the same geographical area as two of our schools, we have much in common in terms of the transport and communication challenges. We have enjoyed sharing our stories and information. Those challenges seem so distant when we are chatting in an Edinburgh café, albeit maintaining social distancing.
Mercy does termly visits to each of the schools supported by MMF. Not only does she check that the girls are at school, she also provides them with moral and pastoral support. This support can be central to keeping that girl in education. We are delighted that Maura’s Mission have now engaged Mercy to do similar work for them. She will visit the schools and support their girls in the same way as she does for MMF. Maura’s Mission will benefit from Mercy’s experience and expertise and we are glad to have this connection with their work. We can all learn from each other and we don’t need to waste our scarce resources inventing new ways of doing things when we can share information and connections like this."