I'm privileged to write today about Bangwe Babies Mission (Malawi) because it is something about which I have prayed for years. Many of you know that my faith in God is the pillar of my life and he has provided me with a wonderful family and a "fiber arts tolerant" husband. How all this began, a little about Bangwe, Blantyre, Malawi, my goals, the goals of the group, and how you can contribute will all be included (in abbreviated form) in this blog.
When joining Facebook I had no idea that I would develop close friendships with young people from all over the continent of Africa. I'd never been to Africa. Had no family there, no close friends, I had only one missionary family with whom I was acquainted. Through this family working in Kenya I got to know some of the most amazing and truest friends I'd had in many years. I'm not sure how it all evolved I just know that through mutual friends and a love of football (soccer) I met a young man named Amos Phiri. while Amos was born in the the country of Malawi and now lives in the UK after graduating from technical college. Through the years of very hard work Amos now owns his own shipping company. This allows him to serve his home country and city of Bangwe, Blantyre, Malawi. I do not know at what point it occurred to me that Amos was shipping things to Malawi, perhaps it was when he invited me to his business page, but the thought struck me that maybe my prayers had been answered!
I had been praying about a way to serve the babies of Africa through my handmade clothes. So many times I had read posts from friends in Africa telling me how cold the winters were and how they wish that they could get warmer clothes for their babies. I thought would it not be wonderful if I could give back to my friends some of the joy they had given me. When I approached Amos Phiri with the idea of helping Malawi he informed me that he did indeed have an idea! That is how Bangwe Babies Mission was born. Through his contacts in Malawi, and his shipping company, Amos Phiri was able to contact the Bangwe Health Center where they have an urgent need for clothes for infants. Now you are correct, there is another group on Facebook for which I am spokesperson, Northern Adirondack Hats for Hope, is a group which I HELP to run I do not run it alone. However, in Africa their Winter months occur during our Summer months so there is no conflict between the two groups. I am able to do both. How cool is that! Again, with this group Amos Phiri is really the expert, my job is to help Amos by recruiting knitters, crocheters, and those who can sew to the group. More about that later. First, let me share with you a little about Bangwe Health Centre from the perspective of those who live/have lived or work there.
Amos Phiri wrote this for me to share with our Facebook group .
Bangwe Township is one of the beautiful town since is surrounded by Hills and rivers unfortunately the population is very high.
We have experienced of poverty and lack of proper equipment at our hospital (Bangwe Healthy Centre).
The woman are finding it difficult especially when giving birth since there's lack of proper equipment and mostly they lose their lives.
Therefore through Babies Bangwe Mission am 100% sure that will make difference and near future we may require midwives volunteers from Abroad to come and work with or train our nurses at Bangwe Healthy centre(Maternity ward).
We need a lot for our maternity ward
Just to mention a few
Bangwe healthy centre is the only hospital in Bangwe which is located in southern of malawi and located between Namatapa primary school (1.0 kilometers from the Healthy Centre to the school) and Bangwe Primary school (1.5 km from the Healthy Centre to the school)
At first it was the Maternity hospital till the early 2000’s when the population increased and the government decided to change over the hospital to a healthy centre where all to be receiving treatment since the Main hospital which is QUEEN Elizabeth hospital is about 10km from Bangwe.
It is the only hospital which the whole community rely on especially when the pregnant woman giving birth.
Due to the poverty and lack of necessities Bangwe has been experience with more death especially women when giving birth and mostly the loose babies because of lack of proper medications and equipments
(photo via google earth)
When I asked the members of our facebook group (mostly Malawians and a few folks from outside Malawi who have offered to help make clothes) to tell me about Bangwe, this is what some told me:
Josephine Mercia Redson: "It is a ghetto type of city". " Employment is also a challenge here, even graduates struggle to get a job... " (Bangwe is around 1, 250 miles and has a population of 809,397 at last count)
Bick-aya Mbawala added these facts:
When I asked how many babies were born each month at the Bangwe Health Centre
Bridget Wa Masamba replied : "Almost 100"
To give you a little perspective, The University of Vermont Medical Centre is in the heart of Burlington, Vermont. According to its website UVM serves 2,000 families per YEAR at their birthing centre Which is approximately 166 babies per month. (give or take) Hard to fathom that Bangwe Health Centre would be serving that many families with minimal equipment when one of the best equipped hospitals in Vermont would be serving nearly as many families! We are very thankful for Bangwe Health Centre! They are able to do so much with so little.
As Amos Jame Phiri wrote earlier the group goals are much bigger than just making sure littlest citizens of Bangwe get warm handmade clothes. He would like to see the entire hospital become a proper hospital with properly trained volunteers, staff and equipment. With his passion for helping those in the pace of his birth, I have no doubt he will fulfill this dream.
For myself, I want to make sure that babies can be born with something warm to wear and to cover their tiny bodies. I want to see the roster of those willing to help grow so that we may significantly impact and encourage Bangwe's families and medical staff. It has been my hope for years to do this work and to have a ministry partner. Through Amos Phiri I have this opportunity! The items you send to Bangwe Babies Mission will leave the US and meet with other donations in the UK to be sent on to Bangwe.
We have a donation center in UK and in the USA!
If you wish to donate in the US please send to Bangwe Babies Mission care of Tom Wilson PO Box 465, Malone, NY 12953.
If you'd like the UK address please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Knowing the desperate need in Bangwe, Malawi we ask for 4 things:
Let's get something started! Let us change the world a little! If you are serious about helping us with your talents, and time please consider letting me know or joining our group on Facebook. @Bangwe Babies Mission (Malawi) We're thankful you took the time to read this article. :) On behalf of myself , Bangwe Babies Mission (Malawi) and my partner in ministry, thank you.
**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.