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Not four wheels, but two legs!

In March James Pollard will be tackling the racecourse at Silverstone for Joshua. But not in a car, no, he’s taking the harder option of running the circuit. And not only is he running it, he’s doing over three laps, which makes this a half marathon distance. (Click here to view the route).

Adidas Half MarathonHe’ll run the tracks famous bends, including The Loop and Brooklands and hopefully he’ll find some much needed respite on the straights of  Hanger and Wellington. And James is doing this all to raise £300 for Joshua.

You may recognise James’s surname, as his mum Jean volunteered in Malawi last year, helping to establish a community knitting group amongst other things. Jean is returning to Malawi in March and they money James raises will help support our life changing work.

We’d like to take this opportunity to wish James good luck for his big day, and to say Thank You to him and his mum for their support. If you’d like to sponsor James then just follow this link.

If you’d like to do a run for Joshua this year, why not join our Heroes Run Team in Brighton on the 18th May 2014. Click here to find out more.

Joshua Trustee wins Times/Sternberg Prize for African aid work‏

Make sure you check out The Times today as we are delighted to announce that Joshua trustee David Pearson has won the Times/Sternberg Prize for African aid work.

The award recognises the dedication of those over the age of 70 in their work for good causes and their outstanding contributions to society. David has worked tirelessly for Joshua over the years and we are delighted that his efforts have been recognised by this prestigious award.

David designed and oversaw the construction of Joshua’s Maize Mill, he has been involved in the construction of six feeding centres, two water harvesting tanks and the road bridge.

His current project is the footbridge at Mwandika and the £5,000 he has won with this award will go towards this. It’s an incredible achievement, and we are so proud to have David as a part of the Joshua team – he shows us all the age is not barrier to determination.

The footbridge over the Milo River will save lives by ensuring that hundreds of children have a safe journey to and from school. To see a video of the site click here.

We can’t think of a better winner for this prestigious award, Congratulations David!

Tiyamike feeding centre - November 2013

Tiyamike Feeding Centre update

Whist I was in Malawi I visited Tiyamike feeding centre, where Margreet, a nurse from Holland who lives and works in Malawi was running her weekly under-fives clinic. Every Friday Margreet runs a clinic at one of four Joshua feeding centres.

Margreet weighs every child who comes to the clinic and asks their mother if their are any problems at the moment. She record the children’s weights and does this in order to identify common illnesses such as diarrhoea, malnutrition, worms and malaria. If she is concerned that they are suffering from any of the above or more serious illnesses, she refers people to the Joshua clinic, local hospital or she gives out basic medication herself.

Margreet running the clinic at TiyamikeBy taking healthcare into the heart of these impoverished rural communities Joshua and Margreet are helping to ensure that some of the most vulnerable families have access to healthcare services. Without this front line service many illnesses would not be identified until much later, and the damage done by them would be much greater and in some cases life threatening.

Whilst at Tiyamike, Stevie, one of Joshua’s field officers gave me a tour of the area. I learnt that up until 2012 this feeding centre had been little more than a grass hut. But thanks to the incredible hard work of a team of volunteers from Northern Ireland, called the Young Ones, this centre was built in 4 weeks – which is truly remarkable.

Sarah I also learnt that the group had been so touched by the lives of the people they met in Malawi that they are currently sponsoring 8 children through secondary education at the local school, Limbera. Primary education is free in Malawi, but secondary is not. As a result many of the poorest children are unable to continue their secondary education, which is vital for their future job prospects.

I visited Limberia School and met three of the students the group are sponsoring. Sarah Muthere is 18 years old and lives with her Grandmother. Her parents separated when she was 11 and since then her mother struggled to care for her and her younger sister. Her grandmother works on other peoples land (this is called piece work) in order to support them, but she struggles and when Sarah was offered a place at secondary school, she wasn’t able to go because she couldn’t afford the fees.

But thanks to the support of the “Young Ones” she is back in school.“My grandmother was so happy when she found out I was going to be sponsored, our family struggles for money and this makes such a difference. I want to say thank you for sponsoring me. Education is important to me. It will help me achieve my dream of one day becoming a teacher.”

TiawandaI also meet 18 year old Tiawanda Binauri, his parents separated when he was just six years old. His father has completely abandoned the family and his mother struggles to earn a living selling tomatoes and ground nuts in the market. Tiawanda started at secondary school, but unfortunately his mother couldn’t afford to pay the fees and he was thrown out. Thanks to support from the Young Ones he is back in school and is working hard. His family still struggle though, and during the “hungry season” he often eats just one meal a day.

But despite this adversity he is an optimistic and generous student, “Education is important to me because it helps me work towards my future plans, I can help myself and my parents, and hopefully other needy people like me.” 

Lastly I met Owen Banda. A charismatic young man, Owen comes from a family of three. His father is unemployed and his mother earns less than £12 a month fetching water and cooking on a local building site.

Owen Banda

With their monthly earnings less than the cost of school fee’s Owens parents were unable to support him at Secondary School. He was identified by the local Head Teacher who approached Joshua for sponsorship on his behalf. Thankfully the “Young Ones” support came at just the right time and Owen was able to continue his education.

Although life is hard from Owen and his family, he gets up every day a 5.30 to collect water from the well and after school he has to collect firewood, things are much better than they were before he was sponsored. His favourite subject is English and in the future he would like to be a mechanic. “Thank you for sponsoring me to do my secondary education, it is important and will help sustain us in the future.”

Joshua is incredibly grateful for the support from this group, we only exist because of this support from individuals and groups and without it we simply wouldn’t be able to help thousands of HIV/AIDS orphans, vulnerable children and their communities every year.  Thank you.

If you want to find out more about volunteering with Joshua click here. Or if you want to find out about sponsoring a student, e-mail Heather [email protected]

An amazing gift this Christmas

Since 2012 Joshua has been fortunate to receive funding from the Holy Trinity Church in Wimbledon. The first grant we received was through the Marian Esling Legacy Fund. This fund was set up after the church was left a sum of money in the Will of Marian Esling and Joshua was a lucky recipient of one of their first grants. The grant was for £4,345 and sponsored 40 children through a year of secondary education at the Joshua Secondary School in Malawi.

This year we were fortunate to receive a grant of £2,000 from the Tithe group at the church. This enabled us to continuing supporting students at the Joshua Secondary School, where over 140 vulnerable children and orphans now receive an education for free. I met 20 students who are currently sponsored thanks to this support from the church and with their help made a video to show our appreciation.

So you can imagine my delight when I opened my e-mails this morning and discovered that once again the church is giving its support to this project, with another donation of £4,345 from the last round of the Marian Esling Legacy Grants. This money will ensure that we can continue to support some of the most vulnerable students through their secondary education.

As a small organisation Joshua relies on the incredible generosity of its supporters and we would like to take this opportunity to thank the whole congregation of Holy Trinity Church for their support.

Without it we simply wouldn’t be able to help those most in need. But with your support we have, we are and we will continue to do so for years to come.

Thank you,

Heather Rayment, Joshua UK

Thank you Inner Wheel of Wells

Whilst I was in Malawi things were far from quiet back here in the UK. Led by Ann Clark of the Inner Wheel club of Wells, a charity lunch took place in aid of Joshua’s and raised over £760.

The lunch was well attended by Inner Wheel members and their guests.  In addition, they were delighted to welcome Marjorie and David Pearson (and their friends Jan and Don Pain ) from Sherborne Inner Wheel Club / Rotary Club.  Marjorie and David have personal involvement with Joshua as they are Trustees of the UK charity and visit Malawi yearly to provide help and support . They gave a short presentation on the work of the charity after the lunch.

The event was enjoyed by all, and over £760 was raised for Joshua. Pictured David and Marjorie Pearson with Wells Inner Wheel President Rosaleen Gripper and Ann Clark head of Overseas.

This money will go towards a much needed footbridge in an area where flash flooding killed a young girl last year. Our huge thanks to Inner Wheel of Wells for holding this lunch in support for Joshua.

Click here to find out how your Inner Wheel or Rotary Club can get involved with Joshua

Thank you Ray and Sheila – £500 raised!

We would like to say a huge thank you to Ray Mitchell and his wife Sheila for organising the fabulous Art for Africa event in Shepshed in October. The exhibition raised a whopping £500+ for Joshua.

But don’t worry of you missed out – all the Rays paintings are still available to view online here, and you can still buy the unsold paintings as well – the perfect Christmas present.

Congratulations India

IndiaMerronyThank you to India Merrony who ran the Robin Hood Half Marathon for Joshua at the end of September. India raised a whopping £485 by taking part in the run, something that she says people who know her, will find very out of character.

We are hugely grateful for her taking on this huge personal challenge and using it to raised invaluable funds for Joshua. India volunteered at the Joshua Clinic in 2011 and all the money she has raised will go towards supporting the clinics life changing work. If you’d like to donate to India’s marathon fund you can do so here.

Laptop needed for 3rd year university student

Do you have an old laptop lurking under your bed? Joshua would love to hear from you if you do as we are in desperate need of a working laptop for two of the students we are sponsoring through university.

If you have a laptop that you’d be happy to donated please e-mail Heather

[email protected]

Volunteers in action

Joshua is delighted to have had 5 groups of volunteers this summer, all of whom have had a huge impact on the communities we work with.St Pauls

Fifteen students and two teaching staff from St Pauls School and Wellington College travelled to Pensulo Village to work on a much needed Assembly Hall at Joshua’s non-profit Secondary School.

The team built up the walls for the assembly hall and the latrine blocks on the site, hand mixing cement and learning to lay bricks, completing one long wall in one day! They also spent time at the local feeding centre, helping the local ladies and playing with the children.

Although they were only on site for 4 days they, in their own words, achieved a huge amount: “Fantastic – I’ve learnt more than I thought I would. Tonight made me realise how valuable our contribution is”. Annie

TonbridgeFor the past three years, students from Tonbridge Grammar travelled to Swaziland. This year was their first year working with partners Joshua. Fifteen students and two staff continued work in Pensulo Village on an Assembly Hall for the Secondary School.

The team completed the mammoth task of building the stage area of the Assembly Hall, as well as spending time with the local knitting group and learning about common medical issues at the local Clinic. They also visited a local feeding centre, helping the local ladies and playing with the children.

How this will make a difference:
Joshua Secondary School is an exam centre for the local area. The Assembly Hall at the Secondary school will mean that students who are currently forced out of their classrooms, and therefore miss school during exam periods will now be able to continue with lessons. Exams can be taken in the hall. Registration can also now take place, no matter what the weather; and the hall can be rented for community events e.g. weddings to generate an income for the school, which can be used to buy resources and maintain the grounds and building.

HurstpierpointA team of ten students and two teachers travelled from Hurstpierpoint College to Chilingani village near Blantyre, to work at their partner school. This is the third time that Hurst students have worked at the school.

The team worked hard on a double classroom block at Chilingani primary school, raising close to £10,000. The classroom was at foundation level, and the team worked with local builders to build up the walls – laying bricks and hand mixing cement, seeing huge progress. They also painted and pointed, seeing the trusses go up ready or roofing before they left. They also spent time at the local feeding centre, helping the local ladies and playing with the children.

How this will make a difference:
Numbers of students per classroom in Malawi can reach 80 per class. This makes teaching and learning very difficult, and often leads to ‘tiered classes’, with classrooms being shared between different year groups. A new classroom block will make the world of difference and will vastly improve the teaching and learning conditions at Chilingani.  Read more about their time here.

The Quest Overseas Summer Team have been living in Manyowe and building a new feeding centre there – working very hard from the foundations up.  Joffat has been brilliant as usual, inviting everyone to his home for dinner.  From the second week they’ve also been helping out at the feeding centre currently in operation – in their words “This was definitely an eye opening experience, and many of us considered this to be both a high and a low. I think for the first time, we got to really see how orphans live here in Malawi – this was a perspective many of us had not yet been aware of. However, this was a high as we were so touched by how happy the children were. Its clear that the community here are really making the best out of an unfortunate situation. This makes us hopeful that this situation will be a thing of the past as the years go on.” Read more here.

The Quest School Team of 13 from Epsom & Ewell High School spent 2 weeks in Kachumbe village, where they’ve built a playground from tyres and wood for the kids at the feeding centre, as well as repairing doors and doing some painting at Kachumbe and at Nkanamwano feeding centre.  They also spent a few days helping Kumwandika community to build a pig pen for their new pig project.  Among other things the also enjoyed what Malawi had to offer – including eating mice! Climbing Mulanje, visiting Salima, and a safari to Zambia.  They’ve just got back to the UK.  Read more about their time here.