St Bernadette's Malawi Partnership
Following a visit to Malawi in 2013, our Parish Priest and the Parish Priest of Namulenga, where he was based decided to set up a partnership between both parishes and their local schools. The response from both communities was overwhelmingly positive, partnership teams were set up and agreed the following broad categories under which they will operate.,Prayer: to promote spiritual partnership & sharing of religious traditions. As music is a major feature of worship in both communities, we plan to share & exchange recordings of our music and hope to fund a visit to Scotland by members of the Namulenga choir.,Education: to promote shared learning through active links between our local schools. Here, our parish primary and our local secondary are actively involved. Fundraising: to support the development challenges facing the Namulenga community based on their own locally identified needs. Over the ensuing 8 years, the following project were successfully achieved:
1. The funding of a container of goods to Namulenga, goods supplied locally based on needs listed by the Namulenga Community.
2. Continued Raising Awareness: through our parish bulletin, displays, parish website & parish Facebook page & through local press, promoting the cultural traditions of both countries and their shared history.
3. Developing Partnership with a focus on partnership that is respectful not dependent & will enrich both communities. To enrich the sense of Partnership, the Namulenga Parish Priest Visited in July 2014 and there was a return self funded visit by 7 of our local Partnership Team in September/October 2014.
4. We funded a full Classroom Block refurbishment of Namulenga Girls’ School during the above visit and actively participated in the refurbishment alongside members of the Namulenga Community.
5. We funded a Nursery Feeding Programme in January 2015 supported by Mary’s Meals who supplied & delivered the ingredients for the Likuni Phala. In June 2021, Mary’s Meals took responsibility of continuing this programme.
6. We started a Sponsorship programme for Secondary pupils who could not complete their education because they did not have the means to pay the school fees. This initiative grew year on year and is still ongoing.
7. With the support of Classrooms for Malawi, we funded the building of a new two classroom block for students with disabilities and additional support needs in 2016. We also provided funding for resources needed which were all purchased locally in Malawi.
8. Also in 2016, we secured a Mary’s Meals Feeding Programme for Namulenga Girls’ and Namulenga Boys’ schools.
9. Between 2017 & 2020 we supported repairs to roofs damaged by storms, provided funds to buy essential materials to improve living conditions in the parish house, provided funds to purchase some much needed desks for Namulenga Boys’ School and provided funds to purchase maize to feed the most vulnerable families after the devastation of maize crops due to Climate Change.
In all initiatives we have had a clear focus on making this a sustainable partnership.,
At our AGM in 2021, our much diminished Partnership Team had to stand down due to extensive personal commitments. It did look likely that the Partnership would have to close as it simply was not viable to continue without a Partnership Team to take responsibility & to be accountable for the day to day financial management involved. Thankfully at the 11th hour another Parish Group stepped to take on the St. Bernadette’s Malawi Partnership. The Chairperson of that group, Jim Sweeney is now also the Chairperson of St. Bernadette’s Malawi Partnership.
Partner organisation in Malawi
St. Anne’s Namulenga