A HUDDERSFIELD charity is changing the lives of children in Malawi by sponsoring students.
Christian African Relief Trust helps provide secondary school education for young people in the country’s Orphan Care and Social Rehabilitation Centre.
The centre was established in the capital Lilongwe in 1995 by Jenny and Crosby Mphande, who simply began taking orphans into a small, brick-built bungalow.
In 1996 Cynthia Feather, of Halifax, paid a visit and came back “fired up” to help.
She established the Friends of the Orphan Care and Social Rehabilitation Centre and said: “We wanted to do everything we could to help.
“I joined the Christian African Relief Trust (CART) in 1998 and organised a container that goes over every year to help.
“In 2003 I went out again with my husband and two friends and wondered if anyone would be interested in sponsoring a secondary school student.
“There are lots of schools but after the age of 11 the government no longer provides education free so they have to pay. At the moment we are sponsoring 51 students.”
Cynthia funds the students through the orphan centre in Lilongwe and receives regular updates about how the children are getting on, which are circulated as a newsletter.
Orphans have very little chance of accessing secondary school education making it increasingly hard to break the cycle of poverty.
In July Cynthia will return to the country to see for herself some of the young people who have benefited from donations.
The charity tries to secure a three-year commitment from donors to ensure funds do not dry up during a child’s education, but any contributions are welcomed and channelled into a “contingency fund” if a sponsor does withdraw for any reason.
She added: “I’m looking forward to going back and meeting some of the students, it will be good to see them personally.
“I can’t see all the students as there are 26 schools involved but it’s brilliant to see how the kind donations are used.”
When Jenny and Crosby Mphande originally established their centre in 1995 cooking was done on open fires and the toilet was a hole in the ground.
They eventually moved to a similar bungalow, but with the addition of one tap providing running water.
Since 1996 the friends group has provided thousands for them, as well as containers of tinned and dried food.
Working through the registered charity CART allows Cynthia’s group to offer Gift Aid. CART also sends out containers of supplies to several African countries.
Contact her to find out more on 01422 357739 or firstname.lastname@example.org