Having set off in the borrowed car with baby Biswayo and his minder, I visited Bandawe Girls’ Secondary School with his mum, Mercy, MMF’s Manager in Malawi. It was an inspiring visit. It is wonderful to watch Mercy working with the staff members, whom Mercy questions on the details of the list of girls to be supported. It is vital that we keep our promise to support our MMF girls through to the end of their studies at school. It is a termly management task to check that no girl has fallen off the list if she is still at school. Girls leaving school, in spite of fees being paid for them, is a real worry and one that we are addressing with other agencies working in the area.
Seeing the MMF girls greeting Mercy and her baby was heart-warming. I had been told by the Head Teacher how much the girls loved and appreciated her and it was great to see it in action. She encourages them, makes them feel that they belong to the family that is ‘Mamie Martin’ and listens to their worries and troubles. She sees them individually but I just saw them in a group this time. Many of them took the opportunity to tell us about their lives and why MMF funding is so essential to them. One girl, a new MMF beneficiary, told us that it was her 16th birthday that day and that she had just been told of her MMF bursary – ‘it is the best birthday present’, she said to warm applause from the other girls.
The poverty of these girls is clear from their stories and their poor clothing. But they are confident about their brighter futures because of our support. They wish me to pass on their thanks to all our donors.