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“Her tomorrow”

Mercy Sibande, MMF Country Director, wishes the One World Shop in Edinburgh a happy 40th birthday in this video. Mercy visited the shop in May this year and shared her first-hand knowledge of the impact of Fairtrade benefits to communities in Malawi. In this video she tells the story of a girl whose family lost everything but the girl can continue at school because of MMF support. 

“She was assured that her transport fare would be paid for to go back to school (as well as fees and basic needs). That gave her hope and excitement to say that she can go back to school. At school now she is working hard in the hope that her future, her tomorrow, […] will change her community, her family plus the Nation as a whole.”

All of us at the Mamie Martin Fund join Mercy in congratulating the One World Shop on its 40th birthday. It’s a huge achievement to have supported Fairtrade producers around the world for all that time. Education is always prioritised by farmers when receiving Fairtrade premiums on their produce sold. We are happy to support the One World Shop in small ways and we appreciate their support of our work on their social media channels. 

AGM 2023 – Sat 4th Nov 13:00 – 15:00 UK time

Are you signed up for our online AGM yet? Our keynote speaker is Precious Mhone who works in Embangweni Secondary School for Deaf Children. She will tell us about her school, the community and her pupils. Her positivity shines through, even as she describes some of the barriers faced by these young people. Then Kevin Simpson of Malawi Fruits will speak to us about how that organisatoin is empowering women in the agricultural sector in Malawi.

We’d be delighted to have your support at this AGM. You can register here (free) or watch the livestream on our Facebook page.

Legacy and in-memory giving

Within the last month we have received a bequest from a supporter. After years of supporting MMF, she also remembered us in her Will. This is a great boost to our funds in these difficult times and, on behalf of our girls in Malawi, we are grateful. This is something that is easy to do and we provide a codicil wording if that would be helpful. 

About the same time, a family related to the Sinclairs (Mamie Martin’s grandchildren) had a sudden bereavement. Barry Smart was widely loved and respected. Barry has recently retired. At the request of his ex-colleagues through the family, we set up a page through which people could pay their respects with a donation. The response has been astounding in financial terms and heart-warming in terms of the messages posted on the page.

We are so grateful to the family for allowing this to happen and to all of Barry’s friends and colleagues for turning this tragedy into hope for young Malawian girls. Barry supported MMF because he wanted Malawian girls to have the same educational chances as his daughters and granddaughters. 

Our condolences to all those who are grieving for Barry.

Our Helen is a winner!

Helen did it! She completed the incredible ROC England route in under 7 hours. She came 1st in the female 40+ category and an astonishing 3rd in the female category and 37 (out of 151) overall.

We love this photo and the champagne-spraying video on Instagram of the winners with Helen in her MMF tee-shirt.

This triathlon invoved 111 kms – swimming, cycling and running, The running included up and down Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England at 3,209 ft.

Helen trained hard and daily for this immense challenge. It clearly paid off. She has been fundraising hard too. Her employer, Barratt Developments plc, matched her first £1k, giving her total a lovely boost. Thanks to them and to all her generous donors. Her funds will support deaf girls at secondary school in Embangweni, Malawi through the Thompson Fund, managed by the Mamie Martin Fund. The Thompson Fund was set up and is being continually supported by family and friends of Jack and Phyllis Thompson, family friends of Helen.

Direct link to Helen’s fundraising page: https://tinyurl.com/Helen-ROC Remember that any suggested admin donation is by JustGiving, not MMF, so there is no need to add anything extra.

Embagweni school

AGM Keynote speaker announced

We are delighted to announce that Mrs Precious Mhone, Boarding Mistress at Embangweni Secondary School for Deaf Children, will be a keynote speaker at our forthcoming AGM. This will be held online so that we can include colleagues and friends from Malawi. The online format also allows many other supporters to join without having to travel.

Precious will tell us about her school, the pupils and their lives. We are proud to support 15 girls at Embangweni in the coming school year. Seven of those are supported through the Thompson Fund, set up in the memory of Jack and Phyllis Thompson. Because of the strong fundraising to this Fund, we have increased the number of girls whom we can support. This year’s amazing fundraising is being done by Helen Nyul, who is undertaking The ROC England – a fearsome triathlon in the Lake District.

Our AGM will be held via Zoom on Sat Nov 4th at 13:00 UK time. We would be delighted if you could join us. The event is free and open to all. You can register here.

Helen does ‘The ROC’ for deaf girls’ education

“Apparently the swim is flat”

Helen Nyul will be attempting the Roc England on 2nd September by swimming, biking and running up and down Scafell Pike, totalling 111km with over 3,000 ft of elevation in one day.

She describes her feeling: “I like a challenge. But I am absolutely, hands down, scared of this one. Not a feeling I am used to. But what better way to meet a challenge than to make it all about someone else? The deaf girls at school in Malawi deserve equal opportunities, and I bet that my challenge pales into insignificance compared to theirs. The Thompson Fund, run by the Mamie Martin Fund, is a special charity to my Mum and Dad, and me as well. We appreciate anything you can give to help deaf girls in Malawi get a full and rewarding secondary education.”

Helen’s target is to raise enough money (£2,100) to send a deaf girl to school for all six years of her secondary education at Embangweni, Northern Malawi.

Video: The first Thompson Girls at Embangweni Secondary School, Northern Malawi

Deaf girls’ education in Malawi: Not only are girls less likely to go to secondary school than boys and are more likely to drop out, but having a disability further exacerbates issues associated with equality. Disabled girls in Malawi have been described as ‘the poorest of the poor’ in terms of access to money and opportunities. They are at the end of the line when most families make decisions about allocating resources among their children. Paying the girls’ school fees and providing other necessities allows them to get a secondary education. In recent years, two MMF girls have taken time out to have babies but have been supported back to school by Mercy Sibande, MMF’s Country Director, who worked with the families and the school to give these girls back their chances of education.

Helen’s fundraising page: https://tinyurl.com/Helen-ROC

The challenge itself: https://www.theroc.com/the-roc-england/

#Birthday30 news

As this is our 30th birthday year, we are running a #Birthday30 challenge. Supporters and friends are invited to challenge themselves to 30 activities. We are delighted to have 23 participants based in four countries (Scotland, England, Portugal and Canada). The range of activities is exciting. People are cooking, walking/hiking, cycling. They are taking photos of reservoirs, lighthouses, trees, churches. They are playing tunes, creating pieces of art and reading books. Phew!

This project will run all year and you can join at any time. Many participants have set up a fund-raising page but you could just use the overall #Birthday30 one. We find that just popping the link into your email signature or in your social media posts is quite enough to solicit kind donations.

A team of volunteers is managing this project and all roles are important. Handy Kamanga, our Instagram Manager, keeps the project alive on there from her base in Lilongwe, Malawi. We really appreciate her skill and enthusiasm. Hannah Wright, in Kendal/Manchester (depending on term time), creates little videos for each 10 activities submitted.

One of our participants, Karin Kastern, has completed her project of photographing 30 Norfolk Churches. We understand that she continued to do this long after she has finished her #Birthday30 lot. The word is that she has well over 100 now.

Projects like this serve to engage people in learning and talking about the Mamie Martin Fund and our work. Widening our circle of supporters and friends is as important as raising money and we are grateful to all who are engaging in #Birthday30 with such enthusiasm.

Birthday celebration at Dalgety Bay

Saturday 27th May heralded our #Birthday30 celebration, held in Dalgety Parish Church in Fife. We hosted a coffee morning with some very special guests and the support of Isabel Stanners, a very special baker!

This was the final event for the UK visit of our Malawi Country Director, Mercy Sibande. We were joined by Alison Cameron who, after many years of being our Scottish Patron, is standing down. She told us of finding out about the Mamie Martin Fund 30 years ago and spoke very kindly of the work we do!

The Rev. William Tembo, General Secretary of the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia, who was in Scotland at that time for the Church of Scotland General Assembly, also joined us! Two of our newest Trustees made special journeys from England to be with us!

Everyone agreed that the morning was a great success. Lots of local people came in for coffee and cake, including two of our local councillors, Sarah Neale and David Barratt, and they all enjoyed hearing about our work. Isobel had made a beautiful birthday cake for us and Mercy managed to speak to everyone. The buzz in the room was exhilarating! 

Our thanks to Rev Christine Sime, Dalgety Parish Church Minister, for her support, to the catering team and to all those who came to help us celebrate! Also, for the very generous donations we received, amounting to almost £500!

Find out more about our #Birthday30 activities here.

Wide gathering of supporters in Lancashire

Mercy had a very warm welcome in Lancashire

Mercy Sibande, MMF’s Malawi Country Director, is on a mini-tour of supporters in the UK. Last weekend she was in Lancashire where a group of churches supports six MMF girls in Karonga, in the far north of Malawi.

The Lancashire West Methodist ‘Circuit’ of 10 churches held an event at Up Holland on Sunday 21st May. It was open to visitors and turned into a fantastic gathering of MMF supporters. Long-standing MMF supporter, Emyln Evans, travelled 97 miles each way to attend with his wife, Anne. Emyln is pictured pouring over a map of Malawi with Mercy. Our Manchester Marathon runners, Phil and Hannah, came 75 miles to meet Mercy. The event made them want to move back to Malawi, where they lived for many years.

We were hosted by the Up Holland members, led by Linda Jones. We were the first people to use their new garden and the lovely weather was just right for it. The formal part of the event was led by the Rev Alex Laing. Newly-elected Cllr Sam Riches from Lancaster attended and became our photographer. Thanks Sam! The event was filmed by Derek Ashcroft for sharing with those supporters who were unable to attend. We were honoured to be joined by Michael Tindsley, the Circuit Superintendent.

This MMF-Lancashire West partnership is greatly valued by us and by St Mary’s Secondary School, Karonga. This is one of the best schools in Malawi and the pastoral care of the girls is second-to-none. We were glad to be able to share photos and videos of each of the six girls. Mercy told their stories and answered questions. Her presence in this warm and generous community was much appreciated, as evidenced by this feedback comment,

“How well she speaks and I felt how well she understands the girls. You must feel so pleased and thankful that all the girls are in such great hands. She is an absolute asset to the work of MMF.” [Lancashire West supporter]

Karin completes her #Birthday30 challenge

Congratulations to Karin Kastern who is the first #Birthday30 participant to complete her challenge. Karin lives and works in Norfolk, England. Her project was to visit 30 Norfolk churches. That county seems to be littered with very old and picturesque churches, as Karin’s photos show. Not only did she visit and photograph these churches, Karin also gave us bits of information about each one. You will find her page fascinating because we have included these snippets of local history.

Thanks to Karin’s daughter, MMF volunteer, Heidi, for introducing her to #Birthday30. Great credit to Karin for getting herself registered and for sending photos and info for each of these churches.

You can check out how the other #Birthday30 folk are doing here. There is still time to join them (link here) – the project goes on all year – the year of our 30th birthday, of course.