< Meet the team – Mamie Martin Fund

Meet the team

The Mamie Martin Fund is run by volunteer Trustees in Scotland and Malawi. Our work in Malawi is overseen and managed by our paid Manager there, Mercy Sibande.

Mariot Dallas, Co-Convenor and Trustee

Mariot retired from teaching in 2015 and is enjoying semi-retired life. With her husband John she has regular grandparent days with their grandsons (and Mamie’s great-great grandsons) which are a great joy. Mariot also does some music teaching in local primary schools, as well as working with several choirs. During her time at Falkirk High School she helped set up a school partnership with Bandawe Girls Secondary School and led two pupil excursions to Malawi and one reciprocal visit to Falkirk by BAGSS girls and teachers. She feels a strong bond with Bandawe and the many friends in that community.

Mariot enjoys talking and writing about MMF and about Mamie and Jack, often using the book Salt and Light as a starting point.

Moira Dunworth, Trustee and Marketing Lead

Moira has visited Malawi on behalf of MMF each year between 2015 and 2019. She is retired from paid work and enjoys cycling and learning to play the fiddle.

Moira learned about the work of Mamie Martin when Margaret and John came back from their first trip to Malawi. She was pleased to be able to help with the process of setting up the Mamie Martin Fund and has been involved in one way or another since then. She plays a key role in the Marketing and Fundraising Group within MMF. Moira currently looks after most of the admin role within MMF.

Kate Jere, Trustee

Kate has a long connection with Malawi and with the Mamie Martin Fund. Her introduction to Malawi was as a volunteer teacher. Soon after this, she was introduced to MMF and reported on the situation in the then (1990s) five MMF sponsored schools. Later she worked at the Livingstonia Synod, with responsibility of coordinating the MMF sponsorship programme, visiting the schools regularly. In her current position at UEA she still specialises in research and teaching on gender and education, with a focus on girls’ schooling, and has continued professional and family ties in Malawi, returning there regularly.

Remmie Kamanga, Trustee

Remmie is the School Coordinator at Kafa Ubundu Academy in Karonga, Malawi, the school of FOCUS (Foundation for Community Support), a Malawian NGO. Remmie and MMF met when he worked as Education Coordinator with the Diocese of Karonga, one of our partners. He has previously been a teacher – 4 years in primary school and 13 years in secondary school. Through that experience he appreciated the need to support girls in their education. “I consider this as the best way to liberate them from the abject difficulties they suffer due to a number of factors that leave them victims of circumstances. This is why I am glad to be part of the MMF team .” 

Brian Kerr, Trustee

Brian is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of our partner, The Soko Fund, a Scottish charity that enables women to access higher education in Malawi. Brian has a background in social care and social work management. He enjoys cycling.

Alan Laverock, Treasurer and Trustee

Alan is a Chartered Accountant by profession and was a partner in a large Scottish practice for 22 years before semi-retiring. He has been involved with charities working in Malawi since 2008. Previously, he was involved in youth work and outdoor centres.  He currently works part-time as finance officer for Scotland Malawi Partnership

He is the founder and a trustee of the Bananabox Trust, which supports projects in Northern Malawi as well as organising containers of goods on behalf of other charities to be sent to Malawi; and is a trustee of Smileawi, a dental charity operating in Northern Malawi.  He divides his time between Dundee and Mzuzu, the capital of Northern Malawi. 

Sandress James Nkhoma, Trustee

Sandress is the holder of a Diploma and a Degree both from Domasi College of Education and has taught Geography, Bible Knowledge and Social Studies for 13 years. Firstly at Bandawe Girls Secondary School where he taught for 6 years, then to Mzimba at Mnjiri Community Day Secondary Schools for 7 years. He was then transferred to Jenda Community Day Secondary School where he currently works. He is married with three children.

Lynsey Shepherd, Trustee

Lynsey first became involved with the Mamie Martin Fund in 2008 when she visited Bandawe Girls Secondary School as part of an educational trip with Falkirk High School. She has worked with other organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa, and as an Analyst with Maggie’s Centres and the People’s Postcode Lottery. Lynsey, who lives in Edinburgh, now studies Adult Nursing at Queen Margaret University. Lynsey acted as our treasurer for many years before taking a well-deserved break in 2020.

Eileen Sinclair, Secretary and Trustee

Eileen joined the Board in 2013 and has been a supporter of the Mamie Martin Fund since its inception in 1993. She is a retired veterinary surgeon and spent more than 30 years working in, and managing, a small animal practice in Ayrshire with my 2 business partners. she was secretary of Cunninghame South Constituency Labour Party and chairperson of Ayrshire CND for several years, until expansion in their business took up all her spare time.

The Mamie Martin Fund has been a huge presence in their family life, and Eileen feels honoured to play her part in continuing its valuable and essential work in North Malawi – helping impoverished young women into secondary education.

Willie Sinclair, Trustee

Grandson of Jack and Mamie Martin and son of John and Margaret Sinclair, Willie has been a Committee Member/Trustee of the charity since approximately 1995, and Convenor for many years. Willie visited Malawi in 2005 and would like to go back, but his busy life as a Grandad and retiree currently precludes such a journey. Willie uses his musical contacts and enthusiasm for cycling to raise money for the Fund.

Angie Wynn, Co-Convenor and Trustee

Angie first met Margaret Sinclair in 1970 when, as social workers, they joined the same team in Stirling. A long standing friendship soon grew up between Angie and the Sinclair family. Having seen the effects of education deprivation in her own mother’s generation, she holds a strong belief in the rights of girls and women to have equal opportunities in education which leads to improved health and education for the next generation and greater prosperity for the whole community.

Angie has worked with children and young people, as a Development Worker for Enable Scotland and has set up and managed a range of care services in Scotland. She has also served on the Fife Committee of Cruse Scotland. It is the experience she has gained in all these roles which she hopes is useful to the Mamie Martin Fund.

Mercy Moyo Sibande, Malawi Manager

Mercy is an educationist from Mzuzu, Malawi, who obtained her Bachelors from Mzuzu University in 2015. She is the Malawi Manager of the Mamie Martin Fund. She has a passion for work that deals with women and children affairs thus, girl child education and empowerment falls under her desired goals.

She is an honest reliable individual who loves to bring about change and meaning in somebody’s life by making them realise that they can reach as far as their dreams can take them, no matter what background they are coming from.

Alison Cameron, Scottish Patron

Alison has been a supporter of the Mamie Martin Fund since it was founded. She and her husband, Colin, have worked for 60 years to build and maintain civil society and governmental links between Malawi and Scotland. The Scottish Government has honoured that work by creating an endowment fund in Alison’s name and asking us to administer it. This fund supports 45 girls through school and 4 at university over four years each.

Alison was a nurse in Malawi and has published, in the Society of Malawi Journal, Vol 72, No 1, 2019, a snapshot of that life. We share it with the kind permission of the Society of Malawi Journal.

Peter Kirwan, Security Awareness Officer

Peter is MMF’s Security Awareness Officer and coordinates efforts to strengthen the organisation’s human firewall against cyber threats. He has an MSc in Computer Systems Management with a focus in security training gamification. Originally trained in philosophy and ethics, his interest in moral psychology led to studying unconscious bias at the University of California, Irvine, roles in digital marketing and communication and, finally, supporting and protecting technology users.

Vera Chirwa, Malawi Patron

The Mamie Martin Fund has been honoured to have Vera Chirwa as our Malawian Patron. Born in Nyasaland in the 1930s she was encouraged to go to school by her grandmother and was the only girl out of 72 pupils at Livingstonia primary school. At secondary school in Blantyre she was the only girl alongside 24 boys. She trained as a teacher before marrying Orton Chirwa in 1951. They campaigned for the independence of Malawi (then Nyasaland) and by the time this was achieved in 1964 both Vera and Orton had trained as lawyers.

Vera was Malawi’s first female lawyer. During the difficult years leading up to independence Vera and Orton were both arrested and imprisoned by the white British authorities on fabricated charges for their political activities with the Nyasaland African Congress. They were eventually released without charge but the experience led Vera with others to found The League of Malawi Women which taught women about their rights, as well as campaigning politically.

Dr Hastings Banda became Malawi’s first president but things started to go wrong when his Cabinet split as he became increasingly dictatorial, eventually declaring Malawi a one party state and making himself President for life. Orton, who was Minister of Justice in the cabinet, did not agree with this and eventually he and Vera and their young family had to flee their beloved Malawi as their lives were in danger.

On Christmas Eve in 1981 on their way to a meeting with other exiled Malawians in Zambia they were kidnapped by armed men and taken across the border into Malawi. There they were detained and imprisoned and eventually sentenced to death on 6th May 1983. Due to pressure from Amnesty International and many friends and supporters around the world they escaped execution but languished in prison for 12 years. Vera was released on 24th January 1993 but tragically her husband Orton died in prison under suspicious circumstances just prior to this.

Despite this blow, Vera continued to work and fight for human rights and the empowerment of women. She is an inspiration to us and to the girls we support. Vera is now 88 years old and in poor health but her story continues to inspire young women around the world. Fearless Fighter is the title of her autobiography.