Preparing for Malawi trip

Governance visits to Malawi are an important part of our work with our partners there as well as playing a vital role in our accountability to our beneficiaries and donors.

Moira (left) and Angie plan their Malawi trip

This year Moira Dunworth will go to Malawi again and will be joined by fellow Trustee, Angie Wynn, for whom this will be a first trip to Africa. They met to discuss dates and other practical preparation tasks. Then they booked their flights so the trip will be from 25th September to 15th October. They hope to visit all of the schools we support and meet all of our partners as well as the many friends of the Mamie Martin Fund in Malawi.

A key task on this trip will be the signing of a new Partnership Agreement with the Diocese of Karonga. We start supporting girls at their boarding school, St Mary’s, in 2019 thanks to the Scottish Government’s funding of ‘Alison Cameron Scholarships’.

Mercy gets her driving licence!

One of the outcomes of our recent Scottish Government Capacity-Building grant

Our wonderful Malawi Manager, Mercy, has achieved yet another life skill. She has succeeded in getting her driving licence! From what we know, and what we have experienced when visiting, driving in Malawi is quite an achievement!

Given that her role with us involves a lot of travel, having the independence and flexibility to drive herself will be so beneficial.

Our thanks go to the Scottish Government for the recent Capacity Building Grant which enabled us to fund Mercy’s lessons and pay for her licence, among many other capacity-building activities this past year

Many congratulations to her from all her Mamie Martin friends in Scotland.

A Malawian perspective at our Board

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We were delighted to welcome Esmelda Chirwa to our Board meeting this week. She is from Blantyre, Malawi and is an MSc student at Glasgow Caledonian University. She has joined our Board as an advisor while she is in Scotland. It is so helpful to have a Malawian perspective on our Board discussions, particularly the viewpoint of a young Malawian woman.

She found her first Board meeting useful too as she has not realised the complexity of managing money at this end. It seems that we are in a win-win situation here; we benefit from her advice and those she knows in Malawi will benefit from understanding more about how small organisations work here.

Thanks Esmelda – it is a great pleasure to have you on board.

Humbie Dean garden opens on 19th May

Finally, the weather is warming up so that thoughts are turning to garden visiting. We have just the garden for you! Humbie Dean is a two-acre ornamental and woodland garden sandwiched between two burns at 600 feet with interest throughout a long season. A limited palette of plants with hosta, hellebores, perennial geranium, primula, meconopsis, martagon lilies, spring bulbs, ground cover, herbaceous and shrub planting, bluebell meadow, mature and recent azalea and rhododendron planting. A short woodland walk has been created, only accessible by a series of steps.

Frank Kirwan has again chosen the Mamie Martin Fund as the beneficiary of his Humbie Dean garden openings with Scotland’s Gardens. Because of the very cold Spring, this year Humbie Dean is only open on Sundays 19th and 26th May & Sunday 7 July , 10am – 2pm. Admission £5.00, children free.

Directions: Enter Humbie from the A68, pass the school and village hall on the left then immediately turn right just before the Humbie Hub. Take second left and Humbie Dean is on the left between two small bridges. Limited parking.

Miles for Malawi team ride again

Sunday 12th May 2019 – Falkirk

Bicycle and Selkies, Falkirk

We are delighted that we’ll have Miles for Malawi riders in the Wee Jaunt Falkirk again this year. This is an event run by Pedal for Scotland and you need to register on that link. It’s a 7.5 traffic-free double loop at The Helix in Falkirk, starting at the astonishing hour of 08:30.

However, Mariot and her team are up for it and we’ve set them up a ‘campaign’ on Virgin Money Giving. We’ve had to move fundraising websites because BTMyDonate is closing down, which is a shame. You can donate to Mariot and her team or set up your own page to fundraise as part of that event. Contact Mariot to chat further.

A donor’s feedback

We were delighted to receive an unsolicited donation recently and particularly thrilled to get this comment from the donor as to why our charity was chosen:

“Your appeal is that you are focused; know your area, partners and client group well; have a small but committed group of supporters; and, most importantly, will have a long term impact through the education of girls. Not a difficult choice to make!”

Apart from specific grants, our work in Malawi is funded by individual donors. Thanks to that donor and all the others who keep us going, particularly regular donors, no matter how small the amount you give. You can donate in various ways and we are now registered with Virgin Money Giving as BTMyDonate is closing soon.

Mamie Martin cotton bags

You might remember the red ones from a few years back. We now have cotton ones and they’re a handy size for many things, including water and bananas when in Malawi but also folders and papers or as gift bags at birthdays or Christmas. Mercy has a supply of them in Malawi and they are in use by our girls in school.

Whenever we use them, we’re helping to raise the profile of our work in Malawi.

They are on sale for £3 each. If you would like to buy one , you can get in touch with Hazel Dawson , tel: 01259 742827 or

Forth Valley Trefoil

On March 6th Mariot was invited to speak to the Girlguiding Forth Valley East Trefoil Guild about Mamie Martin’s history and work in Malawi. The members of this group, which is a branch of Girlguiding, support the Guide ethos, including the pledge to help others. There were about twenty women at the meeting – several already had a Malawi connection and the theme of empowering women and girls is close to their hearts.


Mariot spoke about Mamie Martin Then and Now, starting from the story of Mamie and Jack in the 1920s, illustrated by extracts from ‘Salt and Light’, then moving on to Margaret and John starting the fund and our present day work. The Trefoilers were an attentive audience and there were interesting questions and discussions over a cup of tea. There was an opportunity for the ladies to take away our leaflet and bookmark or to buy some Scotland Street coffee.