AMADI from MALAWI
Amadi in 2010
Welcome in the Starfish Family, Amadi!
Amadi is a
sweet kid from a small village in the Mchinji district, in Malawi (Africa).
He comes from a family that lives on agriculture only.
They do not have drinking water and must walk a long way to get some.
Click here to read the most recent news and 'Starfish' interventions in Amadi's country
NEWS FROM AMADI
Here is a beautiful new drawing we have just received from Amadi!
and this is the message he wrote:
"Dear friends, I hope you are feeling good.
Talking more about me, I am feeling so nice and so good.
I have drawn beautiful pictures of house, a ball tomatoes tree and two men standing, for you to see and these will make you feel happy.
I go to school and my favourite subjects are mathematics and English.
I am playing soccer with my friends at the community ground.
My parents grow maize, groundnuts and beans.
Lastly, I greet you.
We have just received a new drawing from Amadi!
and his letter goes:
"Dear Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, I am glad to tell you that I have drawn pictures of people and and houses for you to see. I am happy to tell you that we have new scholl blocks in our area thanks to your support.
Lastly, I wish you all the best. Yours, Amadi
Some fresh news from Amadi!!
First of all, he sent us a recent photo, to show us how fast and well he is growing up:
He also sent us a lovely drawing with some calculations:
and a sweet message:
"Hi Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, I'm writing to inform you that the pictures I draw for you are very nice and beautiful.
These pictures are a house, an airplane, a car and a ball.
I go to school and I'm in standard three.
My best subject in class is mathematics. When I finish school I would like to be a teacher.
Lastly, I greet you.
We have just received some news from sweet Amadi!
He sent us a drawing with some calculations
and a lovely message:
"Dear Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, How are you there? I am very fine here and I feel so nice writing to you. I want you to know that I am doing fine in school and I passed my exams with good grades.
I have drawn our house, a boy, a plane, a car and a tree for you to see. Do you like them?
I have also written mathematics for you to see what I learn at school.
From your friend Amadi".
Some very recent news from Amadi! A colorful beautiful drawing with some calculations....
and a sweet message:
"Dear Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, I have drawn very beautiful pictures of a borehole, a car and houses.
I have also written mathematical problems for you to see.
I am glad to tell you that I like football. I also like school.
My favorite food is nsima (a dish made from maize flour -- Ed.) with pumpkin leaves.
Finally, I am wishing you all the best, Yours".
We have just received a new lovely drawing from Amadi who also exercised on some calculation!
And here is what he has written us:
"Dear Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, how are you? I am fine! I would like to inform you that I go to school and when I'm back from it I like doing the house chores and I also like playing football with my friends.
At school I enjoy learning mathematics. I have drawn for you a house, people, a car, a tree and I have written mathematics. Best wishes to you all!".
We have received a new drawing from Amadi!
He also sent us the following lovely message:
"Dear Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, I have drawn beautiful pictures of motorcars, houses, people and flowers. I go to primary school and I am now in standard 2.
Mathematics is always my favourite subject.
Best wishes to you my friends".
And here is a new recent photo, too!
Amadi has sent us another colorful drawing and a sweet message:
His letter is the following:
"Dear Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, I am glad to send you these nice pictures of cars, house, bicycle, persons and cattle for you to enjoy.
I am a school boy and I am in standard one.
My favorite subject in class is Mathematics, however I would like to become a teacher after I finish school. My friends, I also inform you that I like playing football after school. Greetings to you!".
Sweet Amadi has sent us another beautiful drawing and a lovely message:
and here is his message:
"Dear Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, I have drawn people, houses and cars for you. I hope you like them. I would like to tell you that when I grow up I want to be a teacher because I am inspired by my teachers. I thank you for your support to my community, too. Lastly, please receive my greetings".
Read the most recent news about Amadi's country
We have just received a sweet new drawing from Amadi:
He also sent us the following message:
"Dear Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, I have drawn pictures of cars and people for you to see. I'm going to school and I would like to become a teacher after finishing school. Greetings to all of you!".
We have just received a new drawing from Amadi:
He also sent us the following message:
"Dear Rutger Hauer Starfish Association, I have drawn pictures of a bicycle, cars, ox-cuts, a borehole and men for you to see. I'm also attaching a new photo of me. I received your letter and am also wishing you all the best for your families".
And here is his new photo. He is growing up so fast!
We have just received a new drawing from Amadi:
He also sent us a sweet message: "Dear Starfish, I have drawn beautiful pictures for you namely: motorcars, a house and a human being.
I like playing football with my friends Dayilosi and Happy in the afternoon hours. We play this game in our community ground.
Lastly, I would like you to come here and play football with me. Bye bye! "
We have received another sweet message from Amadi, together with his drawing:
Amadi is writing us: "Dear Starfish, I have drawn cars for you. I go to school at Chilowa; I am in standard 3 and I like mathematics and English. I want to be a primary school teacher when I finish school. My parents grow crops such as maize, cassava, beans, carrots, tobacco, pumpkins, groundnuts and soya beans for food. May God bless your families. Bye!"
We have received the fourth message from Amadi, together with another drawing:
Amadi is saying the following: "Dear Starfish, I have drawn beautiful girls for you and your families. I am very glad to tell you that now I have started my primary education and I am in standard one. I like playing football with my friends. Finally, I am wishing you all the best. I greet you!".
We have received the third message, a drawing and a color photo from our sweet Amadi!
Amadi is growing up and he is going to school. He writes: "Dear Starfish, I have drawn a person and cars for you to enjoy. The school is not very far from where I live. I go to that school since I manage to do so. My parents grow maize for food. My tender greetings to you! Zikmo Kwambwiri! ('Thanks so much' in English)".
Here is his drawing:
We have received a second sweet message and drawing from Amadi.
He says: I am four years old. I have one elder brother an one younger sister. I live at Chilowa village with my mother, my father and my relatives. I would like to become a driver when I grow up. At home I like playing with my friends. Greet your family and all your friends for me. Hope to write you soon. Bye". unquote
We have received the first message and drawing from Amadi.
Since he is still not able to write, he has drawn two hands, and through his tutor he is telling us that he is fine and that he would like to say the following : quote I have drawn two hands of a man for you to see. I would like to become a medical doctor when I grow up. I hope to write you soon. unquote
UPDATES ON AMADI'S COUNTRY
Further than supporting Amadi's growing up, our help is focusing on the following projects:
- Fight against HIV/AIDS
- Improvement of school system
- Enhancement of female school education
- Community supports
- Fight against child labor
- Fight against violence on women and girls
- General organization
Unicef is reporting that although Malawi has made significant strides in reducing HIV infections, recent statistics show that there are approximately 28,000 new cases of HIV annually among adult’s ages 15 to 64 years in Malawi. HIV prevalence among adults ages 15 to 64 years in Malawi is 10.6 percent. This corresponds to approximately 900,000 people living with HIV in Malawi.
110,000 children under the age of 15, are living with HIV. Approximately 58,000 HIV-positive women give birth annually, and without any intervention an estimated 17,400 infants will be born with HIV each year.
Malawi is also the first country to include the ambitious 90-90-90 targets for epidemic control into its National Strategic Plan (2015-2020). The strategy aims at having 90% of people living with HIV know their HIV status; 90% of people living with HIV to be on antiretroviral treatment (ART) and 90% of people on ART to reach the viral load suppression.
In Malawi there are still enormous difficulties for girls to complete their school education, due to poverty and discrimination which are still rampant. We are contributing in organizing meetings involving young local women who have succeeded in accomplishing their school education with girls who are still attending classes, in order to spread awareness on the importance of education, which is the only way to help them in their struggle to have a better future and avoid premature marriages.
In Malawi, notwithstanding important developments, approx. 1 million people are still affected by the HIV virus. A lot of them are women who, due to their weak immune defense system, are more subject to get infections and serious illnesses.
Every year, 3,500 women get a cervical cancer diagnosis and at least 1,200 die each year, due to a delay in detecting it. A prompt prevention would drastically reduce these alarming figures.
In recent years, Malawi has made extraordinary progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS. U.S.A. Ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer, has in fact declared that by the end of September 2016, over 650,000 Malawians were receiving life-saving HIV treatment, i.e. almost two-thirds of all people living with HIV in Malawi are receiving treatment.
Amongst those receiving treatment, about 90% are succeeding in suppressing the HIV virus to low levels, making it very difficult to pass HIV on to other people.
These achievements are remarkable and have resulted in hundreds of thousands of lives saved and HIV infections prevented in Malawi.
Malawi’s public health approach to HIV treatment – involving organizations and community health workers in care and treatment – are now taken as a model for the rest of the world.
Malawi is leading the region with innovative projects like option B-plus treatment for all HIV-positive pregnant women to protect their own health and keep their babies HIV-free and it has been the first country to formally integrate the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goals into the National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS and TB.
Malawi has also been one of the first countries to implement the new “Test and Start” guidelines for HIV testing and treatment services. With "Test and Start", the local health workers can reach out to more people – all kinds of people – young people, older people, married people, homosexuals, unmarried people, and are in a position to tell them, "come and get tested".
There is still much to be done though, especially in empowering girls and young women to protect their health, stay HIV free, and pursue their dreams.
To this purpose, local awareness plans have started to educate people about banning for good premature marriages; in many small villages there is still the habit, caused by extreme poverty, from parents to force marriage on their very young girls. In December 2016, 26 young girls have been saved from this horrible forced custom. Things are definitely changing for the better.
In Malawi it is very important to keep on pushing for an improvement in their education system. To better explain the situation, let's read what a 45-year old mother says, "I had never understood how important it was for my children to go to school. Farming allows us to carry on, and to me this was the most important thing of all, so I never got interested in what my children were doing in school or during their homework. One day, while I was attending a meeting set up by the Kuchene Women Organization, something changed: I came to know for the first time that education was compulsory for all children and that there is a law that does not allow marriage before full age. Ten years ago, instead, I had given my daughter in marriage when she was just 16, but now I decided that this won't happento to any of my other kids. They will all go school."
In Mchinji, over 3,500 women gathered in a Farmers Women Coalition in order to increase their social and economical integration. From this Coalition, many Savings and Credits groups have been implemented in order to inform women about their rights on land property and farming. Women are understanding little by little that they shoud not depend exclusively on their husbands, but that they can become independent and gather together in this Coalition.
Over 1,350 men and 2,130 women have been trained to understand climate changes and how to cope with them by building stronger houses and by efficiently managing their natural resources.
We have supported the construction of the seventh classroom in Mchinji: this allows all kids in that district to attend school, otherwise some of them would have been compelled to walk for 9 kms to reach the primary school in Gandali or Mpita, and in the end some of them would have ended up quitting school.
We helped in training 50 farmers to implement a sustainable agriculture which can prevent the damages caused by climatic changes, and have also contributed in supporting the people of Manzi village to fight against the expropriation of their own land.
By supporting educational programs in the community, we are also helping to battle violence against women and girls, which is still a very thorny problem in these rural areas.
We have supported the Children Center in Nkhawa (286 kids are attending it) by supplying a new kitchen and a new outhouse area, as well as an irrigation system to grow fruit and vegetables for the kids' meals.
Thanks to the ongoing 'Reach Out' program, 10,000 women (the first victims of HIV and AIDS in Malawi) have now the opportunity to undergo medical tests and get antiretroviral therapy medications.
In Amadi's Mchinji district there are now 20 self-help/self-improvement groups with 30 members each, and 18 female groups which include women 25 to 40 years old. With these groups, the main issues are faced and solutions are found: right now the main problem is caused by the lack of drinking water, which causes infections and diseases. A manual water pump has been installed in the northern part of this district, where this problem is experienced by 35 families. Three additional pumps will be installed shorlty.
In Mchinji there are more than 3,000 disabled students, but only 8 teachers are qualified to manage disabilities in the proper way. A big problem is also the lack of materials and tools to help teachers with disabled children who also have to face a rude and unfriendly attitude from their schoolmates.
To overcome this problem, a campaign has been organized to
teach children the meaning of education and to encourage solidarity towards those who are suffering.
The Social Service Department has been prompted to set up a scholarship program addressed to disabled children.
In Amadi's Mchinji district in the last few months 100 children have been rescued from the child labor plague, and now they are regularly attending school. 120 women are attending adult literacy classes, gaining awareness on their rights. Two teacher houses have been completed and the communities in the Mchinji district have signed an agreement with the Ministry of Education so that these two houses have been assigned to female teachers, in order to have a higher school attendance by female students.
Presently in Malawi, a total of 3,600 children can attend the 28 schools as part of a program set up to allow them to get an early education. This program also allows children to get for free at least one meal/day in these structures - these are important steps to improve children's well-being conditions.
An important result has been recently achieved: the first 8 years of education in Malawi are now compulsory. Children enter primary school at age 6 where the first 4 years of teaching are in a local traditional language. Thereafter, the medium of education shifts to English for the balance of the Malawi education program.
General elections were held in Malawi in May 2014. They were Malawi's first tripartite elections, making it the first time the people of Malawi voted for their local governments, members of parliament and president in a single election. The presidential election was won by opposition candidate Peter Mutharika of the Democratic Progressive Party, who defeated incumbent President Joyce Banda.
Our support also went to the following projects:
- Other 10 villages have been involved in the 'self-help' program: 10 young women have been trained to teach their classmates various health topics including HIV/AIDS prevention.
- Courses have been set up to create awareness on women's rights, involving mothers, local authorities and influential church members.
- Awareness meetings have been organized to push for the establishment of organizations that can help with the improvement of crop sales and the proper management of the natural resources to cushion the impact of climatic changes. To start with, two organizations and 43 greenhouses have been set up, but other will follow soon.
At the beginning of 2013, 120 double school desks have been supplied to the Nthema primary school, and 60 to the Chambidzi primary school, so that now 360 kids can study in a more comfortable location.
A very good news is that in the Mchinji district 63 teen-agers have come back to school after having abandoned it due to precocious pregnancies and marriages.
A new project under implementation is the support to Mchinij pregnant women who cannot count on public hospitals during their childbirth. The nearest hospital is at 20 kms and so the only alternative is the very expensive and private Kapiry Mission hospital. In private hospitals, giving birth to a child can cost up to 2,000 Kwacha (Euro 6 or $8) and an ambulance transport up to 4,000 Kwacha (Euro 12 or $16), while the majority of the families earn less than $1/day; this is the reason why a lot of pregnant women give birth to their children under very dangerous conditions.
A public hospital in Dambe will be built by 2014 to help from the very beginning at least 50% of the pregnant women of the Mchinji district; this structure will also offer permanent medical assistance to all children under 5 years of age (this is the age under which there is a very high mortality rate).
A new center for children has opened in the Mchinji region. 84 kids are now attending it. Before that, children had no toys to play with, or educational supports, and were studying in old huts. Now they are followed by teachers who also keep a strict eye on their health and family conditions.
Furthermore, a new project started in Malawi, also with our support: it is called 'Credit and Saving Village' and it is addressed to women who want to start their own activity to support their own families. This project allows them to get small bank credits at very favourable rates compared to the usual credit given by banks, which is in the range of a crazy 20% or even more.
In April, Joyce Hilda Banda was elected as the new President of the country, after Wamutharika's passing away. It is the first female President in the history of Malawi. She is the founder and leader of the People's Party, created in 2011. An educator and grassroots women's rights activist, she was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2006 to 2009 and Vice-President of Malawi from May 2009 to April 2012. She was also a Member of Parliament and Minister for Gender, Children's Affairs and Community Services. Prior to an active career in politics she was the founder of the Joyce Banda Foundation, founder of the National Association of Business Women (NABW), Young Women Leaders Network and the Hunger Project. Forbes named President Banda as the 71st most powerful woman in the world and the most powerful woman in Africa.
A house for teachers has been built in the Chilowa village: this is a spur that pushes teachers to accept jobs in rural villages: these jobs that are often turned down since teachers prefer to work in cities and bigger towns. Teachers are very important to create a fair environment for girls and push them to carry on their school education.
On occasion of the AIDS Day, in Amadi's community a torchlight procession was set up: it was attended by more than 500 people. Thanks to the supporting interventions performed in that community over the last few years, in the Mchinji area AIDS went from 17% in 2005 to 8% in 2009.
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