Kids touched the hearts of partnership

Members of the St Bernadette's Malawi Partnership visiting Namulenga.
Members of the St Bernadette's Malawi Partnership visiting Namulenga.

The St Bernadette’s Malawi Partnership hasn’t let a setback over Christmas ruin its desire to help children with additional support needs.

The partnership with St Anne’s Parish Community in Namulenga was set up in 2013 following Fr Stephen Reilly’s visit with the Classrooms for Malawi charity.

In 2014 the generosity of St Bernadette’s Church, North Motherwell Parish Church and local schools/nurseries serving North Motherwell enabled a 40-foot container packed with items to arrive just in time for Christmas.

Seven of the local partnership team also travelled to Namulenga and were really touched by the plight of children with special needs.

Geraldine Fleming said: “During our visit in 2014 we saw two teachers working their socks off to support young people with additional support needs in a dangerously dilapidated classroom with absolutely no resources.

“It touched us very deeply and we resolved to raise funds over time to make a difference and funds were growing slowly but surely.

“However in Malawi adversity is ever present and on Christmas Eve disaster struck as storm winds ripped off the roof from a whole block of classrooms in the girls’ school.

“Our partners tried every avenue for a local solution, but, their only hope was that we could help.

“It was not a difficult decision to make because it was the right one but it came at a cost; drawing funds away from our special needs project.

“As ever local sympathy was strong and individuals were quick to contribute so the disaster was quickly turned around.”

The quote for the additional support needs project is £10,000 providing the partnership can commit £7,000, Classrooms for Malawi have committed to raising the remaining £3,000.

Geraldine said: “Hopefully despite the setback there is still going to be a happy ending to this story.

“We currently have just under £6,000 and plans are in place for a concert by Our Lady’s Musical Society on Friday, May 6, and a ladies’ night later in the year.

“If you pledge support either for these events or indeed any kind of support we can make this project a reality which will make a real difference to these children’s lives.”