Dear Kudimba friends,
At long last here is our summer update.
Things are almost back to normal in Kudimba, though since the last newsletter a lot has happened in Malawi and in the day-care centre.
To start with, here is a brief explanation of the political change in the country, as there is now a brand-new president.
Peter Mutharika, former president of Malawi, had been re-elected for a second term in the 2019 elections. However, the Constitutional Court cancelled the results of these elections after they were contested by the opposing candidates due to irregularities.
On the 28th of June 2020 historic re-elections took place, an exceptional accomplishment in Africa. The opposition leader Lazarus Chakwera has been elected by a large majority as the new president of Malawi for a five-year term.
The people of Malawi and the rest of the world have reacted with relief, it was time for a change. There is renewed hope for the future, partly due to a promised focus on combating fraud and tackling social problems. Both are essential for progress in Malawi. For example, the situation of people with a disability in general is arduous and very striking from the perspective of our work in Kudimba.
The situation with Covid-19 is still unpredictable and unstable in Malawi. So far 3858 people have tested positive for the virus, and 107 people have died according to the Ministry of Health (30/07/20). Neighbouring countries such as South Africa have seen many victims, and although the rate of infection has risen a lot in Malawi, the number of victims still seem moderate.
In collaboration with a local health institution, Kudimba had launched an information campaign about Covid-19 for the wider community. We found it necessary to disseminate correct information tailored to the needs of the community. We also aimed to improve the conditions for health professionals by making protective medical material available and providing educational sessions around Covid-19.
On the one hand, we tried our best to sensitise and assist the population in combating the spread of the virus, on the other hand our efforts became somehow pointless. As presidential election campaigns were being organised all over the country, large crowds gathered to applaud the candidates. There was no sign of social distancing or limiting contacts. We have decided to halt our campaign for now and observe what happens next.
The Kudimba staff have excelled in their duties during the Covid-closure by organising outreach care for the children and their families. They have also organised food distribution events. The staff’s dedication and thoroughness has been impressive.
In the past few weeks, we have made the most of the obligatory closure by organising some workshops; a permaculture workshop for the staff and then a creative workshop for the staff and the older children.
During the first interactive workshop, the Kudimba team studied the philosophy and gained practical knowledge about permaculture under the guidance of a local expert. An exciting part of this program was about recycling and the production of creative products from recycled materials.
The second workshop was for the staff and the older participants of Kudimba. A local teacher came to instruct the team on how to make small furniture out of recycled cardboard, adjusted for children with a disability. Frankie is one of the Kudimba kids, who is now the enthusiastic new owner of a cardboard chair. Another chair was made for Shamila, who is equally chuffed.
At present in the Lifuwu area – where Kudimba operates, the rates of infections still seem low so we have decided to reopen the day-care centre in the first week of July. All the staff and the kids were over the moon to be back playing together and enjoying the care and, of course, the meals.
We are delighted to announce that, with the reopening, we have accepted three more children into our day-care. Fazila is 12 years old and has a disability from birth; Nordean is nearly 18 months old and was born with a disability; Yohane is 5 and has a physical as well as a learning disability, which became apparent when he was a small toddler.
Soon we are welcoming two more girls: Atupere and Hanifa, two sisters from the Lifuwu area, aged 6 and 9.
Unfortunately two families have had to leave Lifuwu, so our beloved Christian and Hayiya are no longer able to join the Kudimba activities for now. The corona virus has made life even more difficult for the poorest families and some had no other choice than to move back to their remote home village to be with their extended family. There, people mainly live from what grows in their family garden, mostly maize and some green leafy vegetables. Living in these villages is challenging and limiting, with very few options especially for young people with a disability. We hope to welcome back Christian and Hayiya in Kudimba in the future.
Lastly, we have had a request for help from the parents of a 16-year-old girl who has a severe physical disability, this young lady is called Hawa. The family lives relatively far from Kudimba and her father is old and very poor. As they are in such a precarious situation we really want to help them, although it is not very practical with the distance. We are hoping to find a solution for the daily transport of Hawa, so she can join us soon. We are planning to buy a Buffalo Bike with a carry on seat so Hawa can be transported to and from the day-care centre every day.
Without a doubt we will realise an idea for Hawa which we will tell you all about in our next newsletter.
Fingers crossed that we can continue with our activities and continue to grow…
Much Kudimba love from all of us