Wedding Gifts for MCV

October 1st, 2016 by Conor Brady, Communications Officer, MCV Board

Rick and Allison Rodriguez decided to ask for donations in lieu of gifts for their recent wedding. MCV would like to thank Rick and Allison as well as their friends and family for their generosity. Below is a brief note from Rick and Allison regarding their decision to ask for contributions to MCV. If you’d like to add gifts to MCV to your wedding registry, we’d be delighted to help you set this up. Please let us know.

 

Picture of Rick and Allison Rodriguez

Rick and Allison Rodriguez

When my future wife and I started our wedding plans, we chose to create a day of love, joy and gratitude for our family and friends. As we are an older couple, with adult children and nearing the end of our working lives, our needs are few. Our decision to ask our guests to give to others in need was easy, but to choose what charity to direct them to was very difficult. In the end we chose two organizations, both involving close family friends. Dr Madeline Turner was our inspiration for choosing MCV. An orphan in today’s world has few options for survival and fewer yet in Malawi. We wish to express our deepest appreciation to the entire staff at MCV for all they do and hope our donations bring love, joy and make a difference.

Respectfully,

Rick and Allison Rodriguez

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Treasurer’s Report: Fiscal Year 2015

January 20th, 2016 by Ruth Nighswander, Treasurer, MCV Board

Missed the 2015 MCV Newsletter in the mail? Read it here on the blog. We’ll be sharing other articles from the newsletter on the blog in the coming weeks. Find more newsletter articles here.

A sincere thank you to our many supporters! You are keeping  hope and resiliency alive at Malawi Children’s Village with the 2,363 orphans served. This Malawian run organization could not survive without your support. As we used to say at Wittenberg University: “Having Light We Pass it on to Others”.  You are giving light by volunteering, sending encouraging letters and donating.

By your generous donations and continued support orphan houses have been built  as have teacher houses. Volunteers  have traveled to teach for a term at MCV Gracious Secondary School, desks were built, money for needed curriculum books was donated along with science supplies. We are now also able to provide education to more orphans and continue to keep malaria numbers in check with bed nets for children under five. The School-to-School program has assisted more primary schools in the villages. As mentioned, the heavy floods this spring ruined houses and devastated the maize crop. Your donations this year are helping MCV meet the immediate needs for food in the MCV catchment area.

If you are a new donor welcome! If sustaining, thank you again. 
Whatever and whenever you give is helpful to the orphans and other vulnerable children.

October 1, 2014 – September 30, 2015

Revenue            

Direct Public Grants            $28,204
Direct Public Support        $152,240
Endowment                                 $758    

Total Revenue     $181,202

Expenses
Supporting Services

  Business License                          $50
  Bookkeeper                             $5,200
  Tax Preparation                         $600
  Bank Fees and Wire Costs     $1,120
  Insurance                                 $1,408
  Newsletter & Thank You’s    $3,489
  PayPal Fees                                 $559
Website Fees                                 $25
  PO Box Rental                           $342

Total Supporting Services       $12,793

Program Services

  Grants                                      $51,500
  Designated Funds                  $78,421
  Orphan School Tuition         $21,350

Total Program Services          $151,271

Total Expenses                     $164,064

MCV Foundation has no paid staff and our board members pay all of their own expenses. As the activity statement above indicates, 92% of last year’s expenses were invested directly in programs and support in Malawi.

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Women’s Empowerment at Gracious

January 14th, 2016 by Conor Brady, Communications Officer, MCV Board

Missed the 2015 MCV Newsletter in the mail? Read it here on the blog. We’ll be sharing other articles from the newsletter on the blog in the coming weeks. Find more newsletter articles here.

Form One Female students at Gracious

Form One Female students at Gracious

The WE Club (Women’s Empowerment) was started June 13, 2013 at MCV’s Gracious Secondary School as one of the authorized clubs.  Founders were  Fransisca Chirombo, student, and  Ruth Banda, a former teacher.  The aim of the club is to empower young girls in school to succeed in their education and open them to other possibilities. Mangochi has been one of the districts in Malawi that encouraged early marriages; although the government is now trying to educate people so girls attain higher education before they marry, many still marry at a young age.

The club uses role models through singing, poems, quiz and travel to other schools to inspire girls. This year money was raised (per request of WE Club) for the club to provide extra support to the top 30 girls in the school, as they prepare for the MSCE Exams. The club is providing after school tutors and additional books. One teacher is assigned to follow their academic progress. It is hoped that these efforts will result in more girls qualifying for university.

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Special Needs Program Update

January 8th, 2016 by Mary Pomeroy, MCV Board Member

Missed the 2015 MCV Newsletter in the mail? Read it here on the blog. We’ll be sharing other articles from the newsletter on the blog in the coming weeks. Find more newsletter articles here.

Board Member Mary Pomeroy, a Physical Therapist, has been working to support those with special needs in the MCV villages. Below is a brief update from her trip to Malawi this past April.

Gift with Patient

Gift works with a young patient

My training with Gift, the physiotherapist from Mangochi Hospital (about 15 miles away from MCV), is ongoing. I spent a day at the hospital’s Cerebral Palsy Clinic, training and educating both Gift and the parents of over 40 children. When I began working with Gift three years ago, his training in pediatrics was limited; his experience was more with adults, although being the only “physio” at the hospital, he provided services to all ages. He is a quick and energetic learner and now is engaged in coming to the villages within the MCV area every month to help Catherine, the MCV Outreach provider, who follows these children throughout the year.

Many of the children need adaptive equipment for support in sitting or standing, or require wheelchairs for mobility. The prison in Zomba (three hours away) makes the wheelchairs; Gift measures and follows up on getting the wheelchairs to each child. The carpentry section of the vocational program at MCV makes adapted chairs, standing frames, and metal walkers with wooden wheels for the children in need.

A young boy in the village uses a walker.

A young boy in the village uses a walker provided by MCV

There are now over 50 children with special needs that are being followed by Catherine at MCV. Children get the equipment or services they need to enjoy being mobile or positioned well to play or eat. Many are now going to school since they are independently moving. Ramps are being made in the schools, as needed, to improve accessibility for them.

Mary Pomeroy examines a young girl in an MCV village

Mary Pomeroy examines a young girl in an MCV village

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New Year’s Thanks

December 31st, 2015 by Conor Brady, Communications Officer, MCV Board

As 2015 draws to a close we’d like to share a quote from one of our sponsored students (Felix Semu) writing to a donor shortly after his graduation from university:

As the year is drawing to fade out, I Just wanted to tell you that It has been a year full of appreciation. It has been a year that i have finally seen My future Through Your help, It’s something that i will never forget. Am a citizen who can contribute to my family, community and my country at large because of You. You really changed my Life.

Thanks to all of our donors and staff who continued to change many lives in 2015.

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Sewing Update 2015

December 30th, 2015 by Conor Brady, Communications Officer, MCV Board

Below is an excerpt from Nettie Graulich’s Annual Report on the MCV Sewing Project.

By Nettie Graulich

 

Taking a break for the camera at the MCV Sewing Project

Taking a break for the camera at the MCV Sewing Project

My work in Malawi is an adventure every day and I never tire of it. The program started in 2002 is ongoing and has become a model for vocational training in the developing world. So here is a bit of our story this year. Following is a note I received from Ayami, the 33 year old manager of our Sewing Project. As he always says, he was a poor village boy when he was chosen to join our program as a sewing teacher. I share this because it shows what an extraordinary person runs this program with me.

Hi Mum,

Mum, remember I was signed for the project on 3rd May 2005. Then I thought it wise to have some gift for the boys and girls that are with us right now. I told them that I did that in order for them to know that I have been with the project for ten years and what they can become at a certain place like ours. I went deeply with them into two points which are: being honest and working hard. Each and every time I enter in our work shop I ask myself why I am there not waiting for my boss to come and tell me what to do. I said that because sometimes there are some problems that when I go out of my work shop they slow down their work. But that is not James, James is always serious. It’s so difficult to promote a person who doesn’t show he is serious. In the parcels I put a bag of sugar, washing soap, bathing soap, lotion and 10 sweets that represents my 10 years with the project.

That was my good news, but in the same week on 7th May something happened that made me cry. I met one of our young boys, Mdala whom we let go last year due to his poor performance, looking desperate. I met him in Mangochi with cement all over his body. He is loading bags of cement in the big trucks to get money. Mum I cried looking that he is too young and his life is in hazard by doing that heavy work without protective clothing and no shoes. He was looking nice while he was with us, but now his future has been eradicated.

Mum even when I am writing this story tears are flowing from my eyes. I asked him “Are you ready to come back to MCV Sewing Project?’” Said “Yes am doing this because I don’t have anything to do in my village to support my family” I took a picture of him on the same spot, I showed the boys the picture and told them how their friend is doing and they agreed to call him back. Am expecting him to start tomorrow. He will again get a sewing machine to work at home as well.I don’t know if this will be good decision. Am doing that because our aim is to try to make my fellow brothers and sisters lives better, and plan for their bright future. Boys and girls are waiting to see you next month. And now Mdala is with us.

–Ayami

Working on patchwork quilts, made from the colorful Malawi zitenje, the sewing room is one sea of color when I arrive in June. These quilts have been ordered by Sandra our regular customer from the Makokola Retreat.

Sewing project workers and trainees at work.

Sewing project workers and trainees at work while Ayami, (standing) supervises.

They are heavy and big and it is not an easy task to keep all the layers straight under the sewing machine. Ayami says that it was a challenge but our experienced sewers have figured out how to do it. We also have a big order for girls dresses, many sizes and styles. I start immediately on all the pattern work. We go to the local market and buy lots of different zitenje, the local colorful cotton prints, which come in two and four yard pieces. With James, who is now the full time sewing instructor, we make the initial samples, so he knows the best construction method for each style. Meanwhile, an order of 85 men’s trousers is being made. We have a large stock of our craft items, cosmetic cases, tablet covers, aprons etc. but after we have some visitors and a friend from America who will take a large suitcase of our items to sell, we have to replenish the stock. We are busy with layout, cutting and sewing all the time.

Read Nettie’s full PDF report here.

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Celebrating the Legacy of Jerry Turner

December 28th, 2015 by Tom Vitaglione, MCV Board President

Missed the 2015 MCV Newsletter in the mail? Read it here on the blog. We’ll be sharing other articles from the newsletter on the blog in the coming weeks. Find more newsletter articles here.

Jerry Turner (right) at MCV

Jerry Turner (right) at MCV

In late September we received the sad news that Jerry Turner had passed away. Jerry is still known in Malawi for the seminal work he did more than 30 years ago on the conservation of Lake Malawi and its fish populations. In his retirement he dedicated himself to helping with the irrigation and food sustainability component of MCV. The current 25 irrigation schemes in the MCV catchment area were built on his shoulders and are testimony to his hard work and perseverance.

His generosity and affability made being with Jerry good for one’s soul. His last gift to MCV is his mtsikulu (granddaughter) Madeline (below), who joined the MCV-USA Board this fall.

 Madeline Turner, the newest member of the MCV USA Board

Madeline Turner, the newest member of the MCV USA Board

Madeline Turner joined the MCV board this fall. She first visited MCV with her grandparents in 2006 and again as a medical volunteer in 2012. Born and raised in Montana, she completed a Bachelor’s degree at Montana State University before completing medical school at the University of Washington. Madeline is a family medicine physician in Seattle. She holds a special interest in women’s health and medical education. She teaches both residents at the Swedish Family Medicine Residency and medical students through the University of Washington.

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Matawere Village Profile

December 19th, 2015 by Mary Pomeroy, MCV Board Member

Missed the 2015 MCV Newsletter in the mail? Read it here on the blog. We’ll be sharing other articles from the newsletter on the blog in the coming weeks. Find more newsletter articles here.

As longtime donors know, MCV is NOT an orphanage. It is a village- based orphan care project. This means that aside from the infants living temporarily at Open Arms – next to the MCV campus – the orphans and other vulnerable children supported by MCV live with their extended families or other care givers in one of the 38 villages in MCV’s catchment area. Our “Village Profiles” series is designed to give our readers a bit of the flavor of each village.

Children pose for the camera in Matawere

Children pose for the camera in Matawere

After bumping down a “road” for several kilometers, avoiding the dips  that  might suck up your car, one arrives at the bustling village of Matawere. Walk down the path that winds through maize fields and baobab trees, past goats, cows and chickens, and you’ll come to Lake Malawi, where the villagers make their livelihood from subsistence fishing. Children are running around; maize and fish nets are being dried on the dry, dusty ground. Women with pumpkins stacked on their heads are walking down to the main road where they’ll sell them. People are friendly and welcoming. There are over 1,200 people living in 331 homes.

Like most local villages in the area, Matawere was devastated by this year’s floods. Despite this fact, life in the village goes on. The local village store is full of basic goods: small bags of sugar portioned out, laundry soap, buckets, and packages of biscuits. Bicyclists bump by with other goods for sale on the back of their bikes.

A bicyclist with goods for sale travels through Matawere

A bicyclist with goods for sale travels through Matawere

There are 37 households that provide care for 68 orphans in Matawere. Twenty of these children have lost their mothers, 41 their fathers and seven have lost both parents. It is not easy, yet the households that care for the orphans provide them a family.

As in all MCV supported villages, two village volunteers provide a link between these households and MCV staff. They help coordinate care for the children when they are sick, let staff know which households are in need of school uniforms, blankets, and other resources, and encourage children to attend Semama Primary School down the road. There is a rhythm in this village that is always steady, and thanks to MCV, the care of orphans and vulnerable children have joined this steady rhythm.

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Meet our new Deputy Director

December 17th, 2015 by Conor Brady, Communications Officer, MCV Board

Missed the 2015 MCV Newsletter in the mail? Read it here on the blog. We’ll be sharing other articles from the newsletter on the blog in the coming weeks. Find more newsletter articles here.

Deputy Director Vincent Sisya

Deputy Director Vincent Sisya

My name is Vincent Sisya. I joined the organization as Deputy Director in June. I am a holder of Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Health from University of Malawi –  Polytechnic.

I am glad, and honored to join the highly dedicated team of MCV in mitigating the plight and sufferings of orphans and vulnerable children. Together with the MCV team, the village volunteers, and the caregivers, we hope to alleviate their plight and

sufferings, and make them to be self reliant, and also turn them into productive citizens, who will help in the development of this beautiful country Malawi.

I would like to thank the Director Felix Chirombo, the entire staff, and Gracious Secondary School for the warm welcome accorded to me.

Lastly  but not least, I would also like to thank the Director, and both Boards of Directors (Malawi and USA) for entrusting me with this post, and I promise to work to my full capacity, and with dedication.

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The Quick and the Slow

December 6th, 2015 by Dr. Tom Nighswander, MCV Board Member

Missed the 2015 MCV Newsletter in the mail? Read it here on the blog. We’ll be sharing other articles from the newsletter on the blog in the coming weeks. Find more newsletter articles here

For Malawians, catastrophes are often just around the corner.  They come quickly, a child that dies overnight from Malaria, or they develop slowly to affecting large segments of the population. Both happened this year!

What started as a normal rainy season, increased in intensity accompanied by a relentless wind from the south that lasted for 18 days and nights. Catastrophic flooding struck the country. The estimates now are over 300,000 Malawians displaced.


The people of Malawi never seem to catch a break. This year’s floods displaced 300,000 Malawians. The floods also destroyed homes and crops in the villages 
surrounding MCV.

The people of Malawi never seem to catch a break. This year’s floods displaced 300,000 Malawians. The floods also destroyed homes and crops in the villages 
surrounding MCV.

Around the villages of MCV there was major flooding in the low areas, but it was the constant wind driven rain that devastated the village homes. Sun dried brick or mud smeared on both sides of bamboo frames work as walls if you have a decent thatched roof with long eaves to protect them. The eaves do not protect the mud walls when the rain is horizontal. As we drove south, along the highway there were scores of walls collapsed and houses destroyed. Further down the Shire River in the lowlands of southern Malawi, villages became lakes and homes simply dissolved. This was the overnight catastrophe.

But the most profound effect is slower to develop: the loss of the maize crop. The United Nations predicts that  a majority of village households will be in food shortage crisis between October and December this year.

Most Malawians live in a rain dependent subsistence culture. You must grow food, catch it, or you don’t eat. Small maize fields are attended to just after sunrise by village women throughout the growing season. In most places there is no irrigation. Maize can be raised once a year if the rains come at the right time, are the right amount and last a sufficient length of time. This does not happen very often! In fact the period from December through mid-March is known as the Njala (hunger) season.  Almost every year at this time there are greater or lesser amounts of hunger. This year’s Njala will be great.

The story has a human face. When we were in Malawi this May our neighbors were already short of food. Felix Chirombo, MCV’s director is a good farmer with a large farm.  It is usual for him to harvest forty to fifty 50 kg (110 lb) bags of maize.  This year he harvested five. Most of our neighbors harvested two bags or less. Dry maize, ground into a flour and cooked, is the staple in Malawi, eaten every day of the year.  A family of eight will use two bags a month.
Like the catastrophes that strike, MCV responds both quickly and with slow developing solutions. In the long-term,  irrigation programs help farmers be less dependent upon unpredictable rains. Educational programs such as School-to-School, Gracious, and university scholarships help orphan graduates and others find employment outside of subsistence farming.

MCV Director Felix Chirombo, Tom and Ruth Nighswander, and 10,000 lbs of maize

MCV Director Felix Chirombo, Tom and Ruth Nighswander, and some of the 10,000 lbs of maize.

In the immediate term we’re preparing for this year’s food shortage. In response to skyrocketing prices (an approximate 50% increase by November) – an impossible price hike for any villager, MCV has stockpiled more than 10,000 lbs of maize.

Villages houses are also being built. In May, volunteers donated money for materials and got their hands dirty. A week’s worth of hauling bricks, digging foundations, and building walls and a house was built. Others from the US have simply contributed the dollars and the Malawian crews have done the job. Six houses have been built to date.

Do a few houses and a few thousand pounds of maize make a difference?  It does not solve Malawi’s national disaster, but for the 37 villages that make up MCV, the difference is real.  It is one village house, and one family at a time.

 

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