The report for our 2022 trip is now available.
Dear Friends of Bridges to Malawi,
I hope this crazy world hasn’t adversely affected any of you. I thought I’d share some good news with you about our nonprofit and its successes. We had a wonderful medical mission trip to Malawi in April, which included 6 high school seniors. So great to be back there after a COVID induced 2-year hiatus! Peter Minjale estimated, while we were there, that he had seen an 80% reduction in water borne diarrheal diseases (coming to his clinic or needing to be hospitalized) as a result of our chlorination efforts. We did 2 outreach clinics while there, seeing a total of 811 patients and saw NO patients (out of 411) with a diarrhea complaint at the first clinic, and only a handful (out of 400) in the second. This was an extraordinary contrast to prior clinics in these same areas at the same time of year where more than one third of the patients might have such a complaint.
Malaria rates at the first clinic were equally impressive, partially as a result of our Artemesia tea promotion efforts. Only 3% of the patients we tested were positive for malaria, while prior clinics in the same village at the same time of year had test positivity rates well over 50%. Much of this remarkable improvement is attributable to the joint WHO/Malawi government project providing insect repellant impregnated nets to every person, but we can take some credit too. Rates at the second clinic were disappointing at 30%, but net and artemisia availability was limited at this village, hence the difference.
As of this writing our dairy project cooperative herd has increased to 74 cows and milk production is increasing, with an average of 12 liters per day per cow. We’ve had 20 calves born and currently 15 cows are pregnant as a result of our artificial insemination with sex semen.
Our new beekeeping program has been so successful that our 42 beneficiaries in 8 villages are in the process of their 2nd harvest. The 1stharvest yielded 12 kg per farmer, providing each individual farmer with $60. If their yields remain stable and they harvest every 3 months, then each farmer should make $240 a year from honey alone, significantly improving their financial wellbeiing (the avg per capita annual income for Malawi in 2022 is estimated at $550).
Meanwhile Jenn Hardy, our IT guru, has hired a Malawian who can teach coding to the students who have benefited from our laptop donation. He will also be able to adapt the dashboard on the laptops so that they can provide access to all aspects of the school curriculum. He is a very welcome addition to our growing team of Malawian IT experts teaching in our beneficiary schools. Jenn plans to live in Malawi for 5-6 weeks in January with her husband Dow, so that the 2 can enhance their ongoing work on upgrading our donated solar systems and improving our laptop curriculum.
So, all in all, Bridges to Malawi has accomplished a tremendous amount as a result of your generous donations.
There is some bad news, however. The rains started late, ended early, and were lighter than usual, so Peter Minjale, who heads K2TASO, our Malawi NGO sister organization, estimates that there will be a famine in the Kasungu area (where we work). He believes it will begin towards the end of this month or in early July. He has asked us to give $10,000 to help purchase protein fortified corn meal (the main staple of Malawi) as well as soy flour to help thousands of people get through the dangerous next six months until they can plant and harvest again. This will stretch our budget to the extent that we will not be able to provide more farmers with beekeeping opportunities, plant more bamboo, or protect as many people by chlorinating their water UNLESS you help us. Please donate to help us meet this impending crisis before people begin to suffer from malnutrition and die. Any donation will help tremendously.
Thanks so much for your continued generosity!
Our colleague in Malawi, Peter Minjale tells me that the rains ended early this year, and, as a consequence, there will be famine beginning in mid to late July as people run out of food. We need to raise $10,000 US dollars to buy protein supplemented food to help keep people alive and well nourished. Please help. No donation is too small. Please go to our Donate page to make a contribution. Zikomo! ( which means “thank you” in Chichewa)
2 students talk about their experiences on the April 2022 Bridges to Malawi trip
We would like to give a heartfelt “thank you” to everyone who donated during the 2021 holiday season. With your help, we were able to raise $32,228 during the period.
MTUNTHAMA MLATHO PHASE 2 DAIRY BENEFICIARIES PROJECT
On behalf of K2 TASO and as indicated in our skype chats three days ago, I am pleased to inform you that we procured cows for 36 new dairy cow farmers making a total of Mtunthama Mulatho Milk Bulking Group as 60 when added to the first 24 farmers.
WHY THE MILK BULKING GROUP IS CAALD MTUNTHAMA MLATHO? Mlatho in English is ‘Bridge’ and the farmers and K2 TASO unanimously came up with this ‘Bridge’ name in recognition of Bridges To Malawi (BTM) for the timely support towards this important dairy project.
It is our K2 TASO’s expectation that we will have further increased animal population by the end of 2022 hence having more milk production to meet the milk processing volume requirements.
Finally let me assure you and the rest of BTM that we will work hard to ensure success of this dairy cow project here in Malawi as we plan to grower bigger than now. Thanks to BTM.
More recent updates
Our annual report for 2021 is now available.
Peter has some exciting updates to share with us today:
WELLOWATER WHEELS DONATION
On behalf of K2 TASO, WELLO water wheel beneficiaries and their relatives, I wish to register our vote of thanks to you and the rest of BTM for the WELLOs donation which will help the beneficiaries to have sufficient quality water. The WELLOs will also be a source of physiotherapy tool to the beneficiaries as they will either be pulling or pushing the device hence moving different muscles in the body. The donation exercise is currently in progress as shown in this photographic report.
As of today, June 10th 2021, a total of 403 beneficiaries have received the WELLO water wheels. Among the recipients are the elderly, people living with HIV/AIDS, Palliative care patient, dairy cow farmers and some people who walk long distances to fetch water.
WHEELCHAIR DONATION AT MTUNTHAMA AND WIMBE HEALTH CENTRES IN KASUNGU, MALAWI
On behalf of K2 TASO management, I am very thankful to you and the rest of Bridges To Malawi (BTM) for the financial support towards logistics to have wheelchairs accessed and donated here in Mtunthama and Wimbe . On June 8th 2021 we managed to donate three wheelchairs to three children at Mtunthama and on June 9th 2021, we donated four children wheelchairs and one adult wheelchair at Wimbe health centre and K2 TASO clinic.
CALVING BY A HOSTEIN AT KASIKIDZI KRAAL
I am pleased to inform you that one of the hostein cows at Kasikidzi kraal calved Yesterday. It is a calf born.
Last Saturday, another cow belonging to one of our dairy beneficiaries also calved. It is a female born. This means we now have two males and two females calved.
On Friday, 150 of the 700 WELLOs were given away to elderly recipients on Friday. One of the recipients pictured below is 93 years old. None of these people will ever again have to carry heavy, water-filled buckets on their heads or shoulders from the water source (which is often miles away) to their homes. They can use the WELLOs instead.