The St. Bernadette's Malawi Partnership
The Partnership between our Parish and schools and St Anne’s Parish in Malawi and its associated educational organisations was officially launched in September 2014.
The Partnership's aims are spiritual, social, and educational and include links between schools and sponsorship of critical programmes that help socially deprived pupils, especially young girls, to pursue their education. We work closely with Mary’s Meals and are members of the National “Classrooms for Malawi” Initiative.
It was an idea that was put forward by Fr Stephen Reilly, who recruited a group of parishioners to take forward and build the Partnership. Under the chairmanship of Geraldine Fleming, many projects were undertaken and funds obtained that allowed the development and provision of better educational opportunities for many hundreds of children.
In the Spring of 2021, the committee reluctantly decided to bring the partnership to a close. The Hall Committee held discussions to ascertain whether they might have the capacity to restart and take the project forward, and this was agreed after much discussion with the outgoing office bearers and the parish clergy. On Pentecost Sunday, the whole parish was made aware of its continuation.
To date, we have reinstated the 50/50 Club, and are now in the process of recruiting individual sponsors who can continue to support those most deprived children through paying their secondary school bursaries. Additionally, our first major fund-raising event enabled us to donate money to several different causes that needed attention. We were able to provide needed funds to the Nursery School and the Secondary School, and to enable the refurbishing of the Parish office. In addition, we will see a special room for teenage girls that will provide much needed privacy in terms of female hygiene. Our thanks to one of our donors for making a major contribution to that particular project.
We have now established regular and meaningful contact with the Namulenga committee and we are hoping in the months ahead to begin to cement relationships with our own Primary School and with the Schools for Malawi group. We hope to have an annual catch-up for parishioners, and particularly for all our donors.
We also wish to recruit volunteers to help run a monthly "Sausage Sunday" event, where half the money raised will go towards helping our friends in Malawi and half will go to those experiencing food poverty in North Motherwell, or to another parish group. Other social fund-raisers are in the pipeline, but we are keen to encourage individuals to undertake fun events that will help the fundraising effort - for example, coffee mornings, social events, or sponsored runs.
In his recent addresses, Pope Francis has spoken again about how easy it is to become numbed and hard hearted in the face of so much coverage of famine and war. He urges us to live our faith through action and prayer and always to look beyond the headlines and see fellow human beings in need.
If you wish to get involved in a practical way, please get in touch with Jim Sweeney (email: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel: 07903558254) or speak to any committee member.