Malawi 7

As a school community we are extremely proud of our ongoing partnership with our sisters and brothers in the parish of Saint Peter’s in Mzuzu, Malawi.

In the autumn of 2013 a group of pupils and staff from St Matthew’s Academy travelled to the Diocese of Mzuzu and worked closely with our partners in Saint Peter’s Secondary.

This partnership goes to the heart of the Catholic values which we as a school community strive to inspire in our young people. The partnership was originally started by Bernadette McFadden, a Mathematics teacher who worked in Saint Peter’s School for a year, and has continued to go from strength to strength. This was our third visit to Saint Peter’s as a school group. We have also organised and supported two groups of pupils and teachers from Saint Peter’s on visits to Scotland.

The Saint Matthew’s group was accompanied throughout the visit by local Malawian priests Fr Philip and Fr Edmund. Group members were welcomed to the town by Bishop Joseph Mukasa Zuza of Mzuzu, who celebrated Mass upon their arrival.

The group was given a tour of the area around Saint Peter’s parish before visiting the school. They were impressed at the amount of supplies the school had, some of which had been donated by some of our associate Primaries  – Saint Mary’s Primary School in Largs and Saint Mark’s Primary School in Irvine.

The group also visited Marymount Secondary, the top Catholic girls’ school in the area, and Lucalazi Secondary. The Saint Matthew’s community pays the fees for 27 pupils at Lucalazi.

Fr Philip later took our students and staff to the Mary Martha Orphanage, a safe place where orphaned children are provided with regular meals, opportunities to speak to other children in the same circumstances and seek advice from older members of the community.

Whilst in Malawi, the group visited Saint John’s Hospital where they donated syringes, catheters, bandages and other supplies.

The Malawi fundraising committee is currently planning for a return visit from members of the Saint Peter’s school community. It is hoped that 2 members of staff and 6 students will become part of our school community in the spring of 2015 for approximately one week. This visit is currently one of the key fundraising aims of our school and a number of events have already taken place, including a very successful bucket collection outside Celtic Park.

Our next fundraising event will take place within the school on October the 3oth. All members of our school community are invited to our Bingo evening which we are sure will be an enjoyable event designed to help us reach our fundraising target.

In addition to our planned visit of our partner school we also support approximately 100 children into Secondary education in Malawi through our Orphan Scholarship Scheme. Payments are made in appropriate stages, directly into Saint Peter’s Secondary School account by international bank transfer.

This scheme relies on the support of our school community by providing fees which allow young people in Mzuzu to access an education which would otherwise be denied to them. It takes £12 a month to support one pupil. However we realise that this is a large commitment and would be grateful for any regular contribution to our Scholarship Scheme. If you feel that you would like to support this work please contact Mr McGuigan here at the school. Any contribution no matter how large or small will go towards making a positive impact on the lives of the young people this scheme supports.

The following is taken from our most recent Malawi Newsletter:

As you will be aware from the last Malawi newsletter a group from St Matthew’s Academy had the privilege of visiting St Peter’s in Malawi in October 2013. We have extended an invitation for a group from St Peter’s to visit us in March 2015. The group will consist of two adults and 6 pupils. The main outlay for this visit will be the cost of flights as pupils and staff will be accommodated by our own community.

These visits are vital to our ongoing links with St Peter’s Secondary in Malawi which have been in place since 2004 in three ways:

  • Our young people in St Matthew’s gain an insight into other young peoples’ lives and find out how their efforts here help people in other places.
  • They provide a once in a lifetime experience for our visitors, many of whom have never left their local area never mind their own country.
  • It is through these visits that those from amongst our generous local community who contribute to our Orphan Scholarship fund get to meet the young people they support in Malawi and hear first hand the benefits the Orphan Scholarship provides.

Fundraising so far!

£500 from the non uniform day in September.

£1500 from bucket collection at Parkhead.

£400 from the S1 school disco

£160 from bucket collections at October assemblies.

£45 contribution from a member of staff

Bingo night £500

Total raised so far £3105

Target £8000

Our Guys in Malawi

Paul with primary pupils

Former Head of Social Subjects Paul Carmichael

Paul Carmichael (recently retired PT Social Subjects, St Matthew’s) and Anne Carmichael (former Headteacher of St Mary’s, Largs) left in October to live and work for two years over in Mzuzu. They have both been asked by the local Bishop to work with the Women’s Development centre.

This organisation works with young people who have lost one or both parents by providing them with meals and support and advice. It is not uncommon for young people to be the heads of families to younger brothers and sisters.

Paul and Anne are familiar with Modesta who runs this centre having met with her on their many previous visits.

Find out more at http://mzuzuseamill.blogspot.co.uk/

Tom with primary pupils

Tom with primary pupils

Former Pupil of St Matthew’s Tom Cochrane (pictured above) who visited St Peter’s Parish in October 2014. Is currently in Mzuzu for a month working with Paul and Anne Carmichael in the Women’s Development centre. Here he is with some young people from the nearby Primary

On October 20th  200 Christmas Gift parcels were sent off to Mzuzu. 100 will go to the Women’s Development Centre and another 100 will go to the Mary Martha Orphan centre. We have been sending these gifts for several years and we know that they are very much appreciated. We send them now to ensure they arrive on time.

Payment of Scholarship Fees

On the 10th October we sent our first of three instalments to pay for fees for the young people we support in St Peter’s Secondary and Lucalazi Secondary. This amounted to the sum of £3,700 .Your kind donations support 100 students in full time Education.

We are always looking for new ideas for fundraising particularly to raise the money for the forthcoming visit to St Matthew’s from our friends in Malawi. Could you help or do you know any one who could or would like to be a sponsor. Please contact Mr McGuigan on 01294 606680.