Newsletter Christmas 2020

Dear Kudimba friends,

Christmas is around the corner and so it is time for a special Kudimba update; a yearly summary of what we have achieved and a description of our plans for 2021.

Our Kudimba daycare centre provides basic care for children and young people with a disability. The aim is to cover essential needs such as food, hygiene, games and play as well as educational activities and when necessary medical care, this is mainly through referral. We purposely employ local people, which means that when they start their job in Kudimba they usually have no specific training nor experience in special needs care, both of which they gain during their career in our project. Kudimba’s aim is to normalise life for these children as much as possible and to improve their quality of life through simple interventions. We believe that by creating employment we also help to develop the local community.

Kudimba is now supported by the Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA), a government organisation. A MACOHA community rehabilitation worker visits our project in Lifuwu once a week, to assess the children and support the staff and parents. We also receive help from a special needs teacher who has many years of experience from the nearby town of Salima. Kudimba provides funds for her transport plus an allowance, and in return she comes to Kudimba weekly to educate and assist the staff. We now welcome 30 children and young people to Kudimba, and just as we thought we had covered most of the needs in the area, two more families requested assistance for their child with a disability. Of course, we will try to make that possible but at the same time we will need to employ more staff to be able to provide good care to those children. Our current team is working hard and are doing the best they can.

We are eagerly looking forward to the graduation of Austin, who is studying Public Health. Hopefully he will qualify in the first semester of the new year. Considering the challenges of the past year, he has been a real inspiration for continuing his studies, as well as overseeing the day to day running of Kudimba.

We have bought 4 more extra strong and sturdy buffalo bikes. Two bikes will be available for general use for staff and participants and two bikes were donated to the families of some of our children. The bikes will enable them to overcome their transport problems to attend daily Kudimba activities. One bike went to the family of Rufina and another one to the family of our young sisters Atupele and Hanifa.

The Kudimba site is continually evolving and improving. In the past year we have realised our communal house for volunteers and visitors.

At the front and the back of our Kudimba land we now have a proper wall with metal gates, to keep roaming cattle out and to protect the vegetable garden but also to keep other unwanted visitors outside.

Furthermore, we have built shelves in the storage room of the education centre, so the toys and educational tools can be stored properly.

We have bought two locally made toilet chairs, a smaller one and a bigger one, to make visits to the bathroom easier for our more disabled children.

We are in the process of renovating our laundry area. Although it was not very old, the foundations were not built properly, which meant that it was slowly cracking. This time we are making sure that the construction will last for many years. In Malawi all laundry is done by hand, so you can imagine that our laundry area is in constant and intensive use.

For the coming year we have planned some more renovations, extensions and improvements, mainly to parts of the staff accommodation. We are looking at more and better furniture for the education centre and for the communal house. Currently, the majority of our attention is going into the preparation of our solar panel project, which we hope to realise in July and August 2021. It will be a huge step forward for Kudimba to have a constant, reliable and durable energy supply.

One of the last things to mention is that we often get requests from friends who want to donate second hand children’s clothes or shoes. It is difficult to describe how happy the Kudimba children are with these items, and how meaningful this is, but the problem always lies in the transport. That is why, unfortunately, most of the time we have to refuse donations.

This year we would like to try something new. If you have good quality, strong and clean clothes or shoes for children and young people between the age of 0 to 20 years you can send them to us and we will ship them to Malawi. We have to pay for this shipping, so we kindly ask that the donations you make are limited to some criteria which are explained in the poster attached, where also the address to which you can send and further details are mentioned. Sometimes we share pictures of our children showing off their new outfit on this page. We will try to do so this time. Look out for a child with an ear-to-ear smile with your donated piece of clothing or shoes which get a much valued second life in Malawi!

A very big thank you to everyone who has supported Kudimba in 2020. Despite the challenges and with your support, the project has, again, made fantastic progress. We are looking forward and anticipating a very exciting new year.

The Kudimba staff and children recently enjoyed a proper big Christmas party. As expected, there was dancing, balloons, soft drinks, barbecue and lots of music … loud, very loud music in true African tradition, you can admire them in the picture included. Warmest Christmas and New Years wishes from the Kudimba team.

The Kudimba team