ABOVE AND BEYOND
FROM-Wales started out as a single family working in Malawi, whilst feeling compelled to work with their neighbours to create positive change. Nearly 30 years later, and an ever growing extended family, that essence still remains at the heart of everything we do. We'd love to share with you what this looks like from behind the scenes.
Tilitonse means, "we are together" and it's the name of our Community Centre. Tilitonse provides porridge, games, football matches, netball matches, adult learning, library books and a firm favourite the pop up cinema with salted peanuts and popcorn! It has been many more things over the years and the list is still growing.
We have had the good fortune of having many wonderful and talented volunteers over the years, who have sacrificed their time to pass on their different skills to our communities (and had hours of fun doing so!). This interaction hasn't gone unnoticed, the community love to share stories, show off their latest innovation or creation!
Christmas is a special time, in Malawi we like to celebrate and reflect on what we have achieved together throughout the year. We have a feast with all the staff, with more than 100 staff, that's a big meal! We also gift a number of trees to our team to plant at home, fruit trees are a firm favourite of course. We like to call them Christmas trees. On Christmas day, we spend the morning at a nearby low security prison, we then head to a wonderful children's home and eat Christmas lunch with them and play games until we can't walk...
Every member of our team plays an important role. It's why we take steps to upskill and train our staff. We empower communities with everything we do, so it's only natural to share that with those we work with. Learning how to ride a bike, drive a car, graft trees, weld or do joinery. These are just a few examples of how we develop skills and trades.
Over the years we have helped many individuals start up local microbusiness, some of which have grown quite substantially. One poultry farmer has been supplying to restaurants in the city and since has moved to a larger home with all the mod cons and outside space for the business to grow! We are very blessed to work, play, laugh and cry with so many wonderful members of staff.
Our team are our neighbours, we support them and their families and serve them in everything we do, it's what we believe in and why we continue to work in Malawi. We also believe in education, it is at the core of all our projects and why we sponsor a staff family child through Secondary education. The future is in their hands, we want to equip them for it.
In recent years, Malawi has been struck by two devastating floods, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. We have worked alongside the government, charities and NGOs to provide a rapid response to flooded and cholera affected communities. Working alongside our partners, we have been well placed to provide food and shelter, and access to safe drinking water to devastated communities.
Tyamike is a children's home run by a truly inspirational couple in the most Southern part of Malawi. We regularly visit and help out where we can. A whole day can whizz by dancing with the children, playing football or swinging from the trees. To date (as far as we know!) no one has ever left Tyamike without feeling an overwhelming love for the place!
Power lines have recently been erected through our local community and next to our Chimwabvi Primary School and Horton Secondary School. Through providing a transformer to bring electricity to these schools, the local community has been able to access electricity. With access to electricity, children can study into the evening, new businesses can start, families have more quality time together, there is an alternative cooking source to wood- reducing time spent searching for wood and the rate of deforestation….and the list goes on.
The Christmas season is always a special time, we love to share that in the local community, we put on plenty of activities for the children at Tilitonse Community Centre. A communal Christmas dinner and of course a staff vs community football tournament, always goes down well!
Over the years we have been blessed with incredible project photos, taken by gifted professionals and volunteers. It is a wonderful privilege to be able to print out portraits of individuals and families for them. Years later, we often find them in pristine condition, taking pride of place in their family home.
We care deeply about the environment and the natural world. We have recently been fortunate enough to collaborate with our nearest National Park, sharing training and information. Their rangers come to us, learning how to germinate, plant and nurture native trees, providing the best natural habitat for wildlife. In return, our team visit to the Park to learn about the importance of conservation for animals and plant species maintaining biodiversity.
We invest locally at every opportunity. From haircuts to food, fabric, repairs, tailoring, souvenirs, welding, transport and everything in between.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Monthly donations are the most effective way to help to help us carry out this vital work, one off donations can also be life changing.
If you are not in a position to help financially, there are several ways in which you can still help us out. Simply by following us on our social media platforms and sharing our work with friends, family and colleagues, you can make a big difference in raising awareness. Alternatively, you could become a fundraiser.
We also believe in the power of prayer, so if you're a person of faith, we would love your support and prayers.