Improved the well being of the people my efforts touch.
On 08 January 2014, I established Johanna Settlement Trust (JST) (named in honour of my wonderful parents, Joseph and Hannah Ishmail). The purpose of establishing JST was that the Trust could take care of the elderly, children, and those below the subsistence level in Malawi – the three categories most vulnerable in most societies.
My Residence on 6.11 acres, now known as Mapanga Guest House, the Deeds of which were also transferred into JST, has been advertised abroad as a 'Guest House' and the income assists in the care as indicated above. Sonia, who holds a diploma in catering among other qualifications, is Manager of Mapanga Guest House. The land is used to grow food all round the year for subsistence, using water pumped from an 180 feet well in the dry season.
JST was also able to respond with a donation for the Floods appeal of which I was made aware through the Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP).
Now and again I send a barrel of clothing and various items to Malawi. This is possible through Amphipod Shipping Ltd., a very reliable company that provides a good customer service. The company is owned and run by a Malawian based in Derby, England.
On the Scotland scene, I support local charities such as the Janice Jamieson Foundation that work in Malawi by attending fund raising events, among other things. I make periodical, (up to £10) small contributions to various charities. Also those who purchase copies of my book Blantyre and Yao Women I request them to give the cost of the book (£10) to the charity Mary's Meals, that benefits Malawi, or the charity of their choice, within Scotland. I carry out pro bono (unpaid) legal advising and request the clients to pay whatever they can afford to the charity Mary's Meals. I also purchase the produce of Malawi, such as Kilombero rice, from local suppliers in Dumfries.
The proceeds of my above mentioned book go to JST. Launch of the book was hosted by the SMP on 11 May 2019 in Edinburgh. Commentary by the Founder/Director of Central Africana Limited, Publishers and distributors of high quality four colour books of Malawi historical and tourist interest, reports, and maps of Malawi interest, Frank M I Johnston:
“It's a colourful tapestry of modern Malawian social history with strong fibres
of personal anecdote and family record running all the way through it and I
can't think of anything quite like it published here...
Summary of Blantyre and Yao Women: A Biography/autobiography on and of the Yawo, a clan of Malawi, in eastern southern Africa, from the oral testimonies of one man and 10 women passed down from mother to daughter…each paints a vivid picture from a contemporary generation…features the tripartite-organised African slave trade and the particular role played by Dr David Livingstone, the Scottish explorer, in ending slavery…
The total of beneficiaries is 124, following are totals of those who benefit from JST:
7 Villages, comprising 6 grandmothers/matriarchs*, 19 daughters, 16 granddaughters, mostly widows. 4 Married couples, 89 children, out of which are 19 orphans and 1 child with albinism, who is regularly provided with skin sun lotions monthly.
They directly benefit from receiving food donations, 50kg bags of maize, school fees, clothing mostly sent from Scotland, and cash. In times of death they have been provided with coffins where there is a need.
This has/is greatly helping them and changed their lives for the better as they have no other recourse to such assistance as provided for by JST.
Of the Trust employees, three have families who live in the villages: family of six, family of three and another family of three. Total 12 excluding extended families.
There is also a total of 7 other beneficiaries (and their families) who are resident elsewhere other than Scotland or Malawi: Zimbabwe, Canada, England, and St Lucia, who receive a periodic income – a different area of JST contribution.
* Note: It is the characteristic of the Yawo clan to be headed by a grandmother/matriarch (matrilineal pillar of the family).
I have been very fortunate with the help of Scotland Malawi Partnership (SMP), in more ways than one, notably in staging a most successful and memorable launch of my book Blantyre and Yao Women in Edinburgh on 11 May 2019. The royalties for my book are being paid into JST. Nineteen of my other books are placed on Amazon and Amazon Kindle with the intention of further support for JST.The SMP is a truly excellent partnership, best described in the Swahili language as: Umoja, meaning "unity", a one forward looking entity where various things are achieved for the benefit of the 'common good' for both countries.
My services to Malawi would not have been possible without the help of my brother Kelly Ishmail, his wife Maureen, his daughter Sonia, and other members of his family. Kelly is one of two out of four Trustees of JST, resident in Malawi (the other two live in Britain), as well as being a general manager. Maureen is a company Secretary/Accountant of JST. In a nutshell, they provide overall and excellent service to run the Trust. Kelly is truly the successor to our father, Yusof (Joseph) Ishmail, and his wife Hannah Ragette Ishmail, who throughout their life in Malawi cared for many people in dire poverty, particularly children, and those in need.
My daughter volunteers with SMP teaching Chichewa and I help her with her understanding of the language, including giving her a comprehensive ChiChewa Dictionary as she is not as fluent as I am in ChiChewa.
With regard to my future plans: proceeds from my 19 books on Amazon and Amazon Kindle, as other earning from my various enterprises, go to Johanna Settlement Trust. This is my legacy.