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Making a difference in Malawi

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

“History will judge us by the difference we make in the everyday lives of children,” said the indomitable Nelson Mandela. The Heart of Mercy Team in Malawi embodies this maxim; they have made a huge difference to the lives of so many disabled children and their families in the last few years. Families who were previously shunned by society and children who were hidden away are now proud members of the Heart of Mercy family. The love that the staff and parents have for their children shines through.

Some of the mothers have bought themselves matching chitenjes (wrap skirts), as they are so proud to be part of the Heart of Mercy group.

Malawi is a beautiful country with a democratic government, free healthcare and incredibly welcoming people, but it is also one of the poorest countries in the world.

Food stability is a huge concern and many families struggled to feed their children last winter, following crop failure due to a drought. This year is expected to be even worse after the region was devastated by Cyclone Freddy in March.

In June 2023, Rebecca Cornish, Sue Baldock and Julia Tseayo funded themselves to visit the Heart of Mercy project.

Rebecca and Julia, who are both physiotherapists, held clinics where they assessed 64 children. Bespoke therapy programmes have now been set up for each child, which the Heart of Mercy will implement.

The team took baseline weights and measurements for all the children. This enabled them to identify which children were most at risk of acute malnutrition. One child was admitted to hospital and has received nutritional support. Others have been signposted to nutrition programmes at local health centres.

They also arranged for six children to attend an entrance assessment at a school for pupils with hearing impairments; we are waiting to hear if they have been accepted.

Four years ago, none of the Heart of Mercy children attended school. Now, 20% of them go to school, which is a huge achievement for the Heart of Mercy team.

The Heart of Mercy project is growing and its profile locally has soared, amplifying its impact. Rebecca and Julia are conducting a series of online training sessions for the Heart of Mercy staff, who are also learning sign language. The leadership team is looking into new ways to sustainably support more disabled children. There are lots of ideas in the pipeline …. keep an eye out for further updates!

Can you help the Heart of Mercy project to expand and reach more disabled children? You can donate online via Accomplish's Enthuse page - please specify in the comments if you would like your gift to be ringfenced for the Heart of Mercy.


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