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A team of volunteers from across the UK have been working with the children of Open Arms over the summer months.

A team of volunteers from across the UK have been working with the children of Open Arms over the summer months. On top of the many bottles of milk given to the babies, and the hours spent with the children during play times, they have organised special events for the children in our Foster Houses. Some volunteers had teaching backgrounds and brought together fun activities around the themes of the Olympics and the Lake of Stars music festival.

Graeme Volunteer Malawo

One of the volunteers with us was Graeme Donoghue, who first heard about Open Arms through a colleague in the Scottish Parliament. It was his first volunteer experience with us and he took the time to tell us about how it went:

How would you sum up your time in Malawi?

            “My time in Malawi was absolutely amazing. It was hard work, but then I expected it to be. I had such a fantastic time with the other volunteers, the staff, and of course the babies and young people at Open Arms. I can't wait to go back!”

How did you feel about going to Open Arms?

            “This was the first time I had ever been to Africa and done anything like this, so was more than a little nervous, though the second I arrived I was made to feel completely welcome and the nerves vanished.”

Did you have the support that you needed before you travelled to Malawi?

            “Yes, because I knew people who had been before, so I knew roughly what to expect. Helen (in the Blantyre office) was also very helpful and answered all my questions via email before I left Scotland. I was going to save all the money for the trip myself, however a friend suggested I set up a crowdfunding page. I didn't think that I would get much, however my friends were all very generous!”

What is your favourite memory?

            “That's hard, there are so many to choose from! My favourite memory is probably from my last day at Mangochi, walking around playing with all the babies one last time, saying my goodbyes and taking lots of photos. I remember telling myself to savour my last day there and burn it into my memory. It was a lovely sunny day, all the babies were in good spirits and the mothers were relaxed. I was sad to leave, but happy in the knowledge that I would return as soon as I could.”

At Open Arms the infants and older children alike love the attention and new activities that volunteers can offer when they work alongside our Malawian team. And our ladies certainly appreciate having an extra pair of hands to help during busy meals. Graeme closed by saying that his time with Open Arms was “Exciting, challenging, enlightening, humbling, and wonderful.”

If you’d like to find out more about volunteering with our children in Malawi, you can register your interest and request an application pack via our website at

We’d like to thank Graeme and all our volunteers who worked so hard this year in our Homes. The children have been surrounded by your warmth and laughter, and many of them have learned new skills along the way. We look forward to welcoming more volunteers! 

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