A Brief History
Of Mamie Martin
The MAMIE MARTIN FUND was founded in 1993 by Margaret and John Sinclair in memory of Margaret’s mother, Mamie, who worked to empower women and girls through education in 1920s Malawi.
While in Malawi with her husband Jack, a Church of Scotland missionary, she became aware of the need for girls and women to have access to education and she used her experience as a teacher to set up classes, with great success. Jack and Mamie are still remembered today in northern Malawi and their story is vividly told in Salt and Light, the book by Margaret based on their letters and diaries.
Margaret was born in Malawi in 1927, but Mamie died in 1928, giving birth to her second child. A visit to Malawi in 1991 by Margaret and John lit the spark for this charity, which was set up in 1993 after discussion with Malawian friends. In partnership with the Synod of Livingstonia, Mamie Martin has supported more than 1, 500 girls through their secondary education in Malawi. These girls are now passing on this benefit to the next generation and to Malawian society, a lasting legacy in memory of a remarkable woman.
Now more than 20 years old, the Mamie Martin Fund is managed by a Board of Trustees in Scotland, who are responsible for the governance and strategy of the charity, as well as ensuring that it is administered effectively. The charity is supported by two part-time administrators – one in Scotland and one in Malawi – and also relies on the help of a number of volunteers.
Meet the team
Co-Convenor & Trustee
Grandson of Jack and Mamie Martin, and son of John and Margaret Sinclair, Willie has been a Committee Member/Trustee of the charity since approximately 1995, and Convenor for many years since. Willie visited Malawi in 2005 and would like to go back, but his day-job is Partner and Clinical Director of a growing Veterinary Practice in Irvine, Ayrshire which currently precludes such a journey. He has a tolerant and flexible approach to chairing Trustees Meetings and uses his musical contacts and enthusiasm for cycling to raise money for the Fund.
Co-Convenor & Trustee
Moira learned about the work of Mamie Martin when Margaret and John came back from their first trip to Malawi. Having just completed an MSc in Gender and starting a new job in Education, she was pleased to be able to help with the process of setting up the Mamie Martin Fund and has been involved in one way or another since then. She believes passionately for the need to support the education of girls everywhere as it is key to the well-being of any nation. Moira has enjoyed two years of cycling adventures for which the Mamie Martin Fund was the fund-raising excuse to do mad things in Scotland and beyond.
Treasurer & Trustee
Lynsey is a recent Mathematics graduate from Heriot-Watt University. She first became involved with the Mamie Martin Fund in 2008 when she visited Bandawe Girls Secondary School as part of an educational trip with Falkirk High School. She has since worked with other organisations in Sub-Saharan Africa and as a Fundraising Officer with Maggie’s Centres. Lynsey, who lives in Edinburgh, now works for the People’s Postcode Lottery.
Secretary & Trustee
Eileen has been a supporter of the Mamie Martin Fund since its inception 21 years ago by her parents-in-law, John and Margaret Sinclair. She likes the simplicity of the concept whereby people in the UK who have plenty, give a little of their earnings to help girls in Malawi finish their secondary school education and thereby improve their life prospects. She recently joined the Board of Trustees, and works full time as a veterinary surgeon, as well as being a partner in the business, so hopes to use her problem solving, communication and organisational skills to help advance the work of the Mamie Martin Fund.
After many years at Falkirk High School, Mariot has now retired from teaching to concentrate on being a granny for Mamie’s great-great grandson Calum, working part-time on various musical activities and being a Trustee, as well as supporting Margaret Sinclair, now living in a nursing home. Mariot helped to set up a schools partnership between Falkirk HS and Bandawe and was lucky enough to lead two pupils excursions to BAGSS and one reciprocal visit to Falkirk by BAGSS girls and teachers. She feels a strong bond with Bandawe and the many friends in that community. SALT AND LIGHT, the edited letters and diaries of Jack and Mamie Martin, has been an inspiration and she loves to share their story with anyone who will listen.
Rhiannon is one of Mamie Martin’s great-grand-daughters. Having been involved with the Mamie Martin Fund since its early days in a fundraising capacity, she joined the committee as a Trustee in 2005 and was elected as Treasurer soon after. Rhiannon has an MSc in International Event & Festival Management and is based in Beauly, where she works for The Touring Network (Highlands & Islands), a social enterprise that supports voluntary arts promoters. You can read more about why Rhiannon became a Trustee here on the Trustees’ Week blog.
Brian Kerr is the Chair of the Board of Trustees of our partner, The Soko Fund, a Scottish charity that enables women to access higher education in Malawi. Brian has a background in social care and social work management.
Jean is a freelance social research and training consultant, and also works for The Open University. She joined the Committee as a Trustee in autumn 2015 after helping to see our Impact Report, based on Martha Chirwa’s research, through to publication. Jean’s interest in girls’ education in Malawi can be traced back to her daughter’s involvement in a long-standing exchange programme between Fortrose Academy in the Highlands and Mulanje Mission School in the south of Malawi.
Hazel has worked for the Mamie Martin Fund since February 2008. Her past experience includes working in a Local Authority Social Work Department and various voluntary sector organisations in Edinburgh before joining the staff at Heriot Watt University. Hazel is currently the part-time Scotland Administrator for Mamie Martin Fund.
Mercy Moyo Sibande
Mercy is an educationist from Mzuzu, Malawi, who obtained her Bachelors from Mzuzu University in 2015. She is the Coordinator for the Mamie Martin Fund in Malawi. She has a passion for work that deals with women and children affairs thus, girl child education and empowerment falls under her desired goals. She is an honest reliable individual who loves to bring about change and meaning in somebody’s life by making them realise that they can reach as far as their dreams can take them, no matter what background they are coming from.
Click here to watch Mercy talk about why girls’ education matters in Malawi.
The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP), Synod of Livingstonia, has existed for almost 140 years, since the first Scottish Missionaries arrived in Malawi in 1875. In its ministry, it does not only reach out to communities with spiritual care but is also involved in education, health care, HIV&AIDS, water & sanitation, food security, civic education and other development projects. Maxwell M. Banda, former Education Secretary for the Synod of Livingstonia, was involved in the formation of the Mamie Martin Fund and played an important part in forming the official partnership between the charity and the Synod in 2007.
The Mamie Martin Fund supports girls at four of the secondary schools run by the Synod in the Northern Region of Malawi, and funds are distributed to the schools by the Synod’s Education Office. The head teachers of the schools, along with representatives from the Education Office, make up the local Mamie Martin committee in Malawi, meeting once each school term to discuss matters relating to the charity’s activities and officially reporting back to the Mamie Martin Fund in Scotland.
The Soko Fund was established in 2004. Its sole purpose is to enable women in Malawi to obtain a university education by providing scholarships. Preference is given to women in needy circumstances who are already engaged in vocationally oriented studies. It currently provides scholarships to 48 students in the Universities of Malawi, Mzuzu and Lilongwe.
The Soko Fund is registered as a Charitable trust in accordance with the law of Scotland (SC035554). Its work is overseen by a Board of Trustees.