Mr Gande, at 76, could be the face of grassroots poverty in Malawi. He’s a farmer who has always survived day to day by growing his own food. After suffering a back injury, though, it became more and more difficult to live off his land.
“He has to crawl to get around,” said Thandiwe Moyo, one of our staff, who visited him in his humble home: one where he sleeps on a hard bench, his chickens in the next room.
Being disabled in this way means Mr Gande now relies mostly on the kindness of neighbours. Malawi likes to call itself ‘The warm heart of Africa’, and, certainly, his neighbours, in their provision of food and other care for him, demonstrated that. Even with their support, though, his life remains tough, uncomplaining as he is.
His quiet life is one example of those at the grassroots who benefitted from a shipment we sent to Malawi this year. Mr Gande received items which, unremarkable enough in themselves, were life-changing nonetheless. A thick, soft mattress, for example, now protects his injured back and he now has much needed clothing which was beyond his normal financial reach (picture below).
Our shipment to Malawi saw items distributed, at the grassroots, to hundreds more individuals like Mr Gande. At an institutional level, moreover, it helped equip a medical clinic and a school, both offering services to the poorest of the poor in the region.
Before our hospital beds and mattresses arrived at this health centre, staff told us it grieved them to see patients arrive when the centre was full, knowing they could only offer them a sheet spread on the floor as their ‘bed’. Our shipment helped build capacity for this centre.
Village children, though bright and ready to learn (above pic), can find it hard to focus on learning while sitting on the floor, with nowhere to write. Our shipment included school desks and chairs (below pic) that will make learning easier at this school for both students and their teachers.