Network for a Better World

As Father Christmas is on his way around the world delivering presents to the children of the world, I wanted to share one last group with you this Advent season.

A good friend of mine is working for this charity in Malawi for a year, having spent a month in the village of Sitima earlier in the year.

We may be spending time grumbling about what we haven’t done, or bought, or prepared today. And our children may be disappointed with their presents tomorrow. However, Marian’s work, and that of other people like her around our world, highlight some issues that should make us even more grateful for this season of excess.

community love in sitima malawi with network for a better worldNetwork for a Better World (or N4BW for short)  is a UK charity which  brings people together, doing simple things, so that step by step, we can tackle poverty.  They are,

bringing people together, doing simple things, so that step by step we can tackle poverty 

N4BW aspires to be an instrument of progress and peace in a divided world.
Our aim is: N4BW shares the stated main aim of the Malawian Government and the Malawi Conference of Catholic Bishops : to eradicate extreme hunger in Malawi(Millennium Development Goal 1, target 1C)
Our objective is: Reaching the most marginalised, poorest families and providing sustainable, long term, routes out of that de-humanising & avoidable poverty. N4BW will do this through:  community health education, distribution of life enhancing items, improvement of primary school standards, action on primary school attendance, after-school clubs and provision of secondary school teacher to improve standards, micro-business schemes, micro environmental/agro schemes – and other projects which the trustees agree meet the objective.
Marian’s work is focusing on education. Here’s her most recent update to me:

Life here is good, i am really very happy and kept busy.  I have been keeping fit by cycling but this week have bought a car though it is my intention to use the bike as much as possible

Often towards the end of the afternoon I sit in the centre of the village, under the shade of the mango tree and talk to people.Some want to practice their English and others just chatter away in Chichewa, it is such a friendly place. Children are happy and shout out whenever they see me. Yesterday i played with a little bouncy ball with a group of 3-7 year olds. I lasted for about an hour but they went on and on and on. Last week i gave a little car to Victor the 21 month old son of Martha my Chichewa teacher. He knew it was a car but didnt know how to play with it. He soon learned!

Work in schools is very interesting. The ministry aims for a teacher/ pupil ratio of 1:60 but in many schools it Is one to more than 100. Children are taught in dark overcrowded classrooms, no electricity. Until they are aged about 11 they sit on the floor, which is often full of potholes,  but they are cheerful and attentive. I went into  a Standard 1 class last week and there were 165 little tinies sitting there with just one teacher!

My focus during the next half term is to improve the English speaking ability of the teachers as they all teach English and some of them are not very good at all. Can you imagine at the end of it we’ll have all those Malawians speaking with a Scouse accent.

For those of us who are wondering which diary or journal to buy, and what to write in the ‘gratitude box’ on the printed page, I find Marian’s updates humbling. We’re always told, that if we’re feeling sorry for ourselves, or something hasn’t gone quite right, then there’s always someone worse off than us.

I know cultures are very different across the world. But should we allow people anywhere to live in poverty with no food? Whatever we do today, and over this festive season, please spare a thought, and maybe add it to your wish list for 2018, to make some change which will affect others in our world.

For more information about the work Marian Kearney is doing, please contact her via her blog. There is electricity and internet in the village, but it’s intermittent & she updates her blog when she can. She’s happy to talk to people about her work, and share ideas about how we can help the people of Sitima and Malawi in some small way.

We truly can make a difference in our world if we work together, as a network for a better world.

To contact N4BW:

Email N4BW

Facebook: Network for a Better World

Twitter: @N4BW1