It has been a year of change at Open Arms as we welcomed our new Director Charlie McCaulder, new Administrator Helen Hinde and new Matron Rex Mbewe in Malawi.
We were also delighted to have Jasmine Leitao move to our UK team, joining Judith Rudolph as a Fundraiser and Claire Collins starting as Fundraising Manager at the end of last year. There are still lots of familiar faces though, in terms of babies and children in Malawi and many more new ones that we are committed to help in the future. The excellent work to care and provide for them remains strongly at our heart, which you will see by the stories in our Annual Newsletter - click on the image to download.
While the new team settle in Malawi, two surprise government inspections undertaken at our homes gave us a resounding ‘thumbs-up.’, which is recognition of the continual hard work and dedication of all of our staff there.
On the back of two failed rains, Malawi’s harvest and food provision was in a desperate state in 2016. The World Food Program (WFP (UN)) estimated 6m people were in need of some support. In response to this, Open Arms bought and distributed maize and likuni phalla flour to the 200 families that we support in their communities. Our help was intended to stave-off malnutrition ahead of the March/April harvest. Fortunately rains have been generous and kind and for now our families have enough food.
August is a busy time for us in terms of the visitors and volunteers who are essential to the support of Open Arms. It was our pleasure to host three groups from Johnson and Johnson, a group from SMBC Aviation Capital as well as school groups from Verde Valley School (Arizona), Lancing College, Ashville College and Stewarts Melville College to name a few. Volunteers have been involved in building a Nursery School in Mtsinje village, as well as helping with the endless jobs that come with providing 24 hour care to over 100 children.
Our UK team have also been busy running several fundraising initiatives as well as keeping you up to date with projects, sponsorships and opportunities to get involved. We are continually amazed by the community of supporters that Open Arms has developed. Some of our fundraisers are inspirational, with runs, treks, climbs and events all held to support the vulnerable children that we serve. There have been many new supporters to welcome throughout the year as well as a host of UK volunteers that have really increased the exposure and awareness of our work. We are incredibly grateful to you all.
Finally, a word of thanks to Neville, who retired at the end of last year. Words cannot do justice to the impact that he has had on the children of Open Arms. He took on and built up an amazing place, which we will continue to grow both in Malawi and, through supporters like you, around the world. With your help, we can go on to provide for the many more children and families in Malawi that need us. Thank you.