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Student nurse electives continue in Ruarwe

The nursing student elective program in Ruarwe has continued with 4 student nurses from King’s College London. The nurses spent a month in Ruarwe working at Ruarwe Health Centre alongside the Malawian medical staff. 


During their stay they assisted with the delivery of a baby, provided daily wound care and dressing changes to a patient who injured his knee, assisted in an emergency situation, and assisted Paul with the day-to-day jobs in the clinic such as; malaria testing, dispensing medication, dressing wounds, giving IM injections, anti- and pre-natal check-ups, family planning, healthcare education, and assisted with HIV testing and counselling. 


Speaking of their time in Malawi: “We had an amazing time!! We found the work in the clinic really interesting and so different from UK healthcare, it was great to experience nursing in a clinic that has few resources and little equipment, and how resourceful the staff are. It was also really interesting as adult nurses to get some experience with children and pregnant women, which the UK doesn't offer. Paul was a fantastic teacher and so knowledgeable, he made sure we all got good hands-on experience.” 


We are so glad that they enjoyed their stay and we look forward to continuing to work with student nurses on their elective placements!

Shahar brings back power to NYM

A huge thank you to Shahar Lakritz, a voluntary engineer from Israel who came to Ruarwe in August 2017 to volunteer his services at NYM community centre.

As well as solving NYM's ongoing power problems (there is now electricity in all of the rooms!), he made the time to get to know the staff at the centre and nearby lodge, as well as make a trip to Khondowe for the malipenga dance festival. He was also kind enough to donate some electrical supplies to NYM, as well as share his precious knowledge with a selection of the staff.
Shahar - thank you - you will be very missed!

Maize mill income generation project

We are raising funds for a maize mill income generation project in Ruarwe, to be run and managed by Nyumba ya Masambiro. The initiative will provide a vital service for villagers, who rely heavily on maize as a primary staple and currently have to walk nearly six hours to the nearest operational mill. The income generating activity will be fully owned and managed by NYM and will be used as a means of ensuring its long-term financial sustainability.

All funds raised will go directly towards funding this initiative. We have zero administration costs. For full details of the project proposal (including budget) or to make a contribution please click here or on the image to the right.

Ross & Lily get involved in IT, business & finance

May 2017: A huge thanks to Ross Auld and Lily Allport, two wonderful volunteers that were keen to help out in any department that needed assistance. They were friendly and took the time to get to know everyone at NYM before providing training and suggestions, and managed to share some wonderful ideas and strategies with the staff in an incredibly short amount of time. They will be sorely missed by all! YEWO!

  As well as cleaning all of the computers and providing training on how to prevent, recognise and manage computer threats, Ross & Lily taught the NYM staff how to use programs such as PowerPoint to create posters, notices, proposals etc., and left lesson plans in order to teach the wider community.
They also got involved in business and finance, and as well as reviewing all of the IGA's with the staff, they helped to analyse the potential for future businesses at the centre in order to ensure its long term sustainability.

Gloria helps out with clinic support

  May 2017: Many thanks to Gloria Ferenando, a UK-trained nurse that has been assisting with community health initiatives in Ruarwe and is now on her way to Zimbabwe to visit her family after two months volunteering with Phunzira.

She was extremely dedicated and worked very well with local clinic staff during her time in the village, and was able to draw on her TB research experience in the UK to provide some extremely useful advice. She also managed to find the time to help out at the Antenatal clinic twice a week.

Many thanks Gloria for joining our projects, you will be missed and we hope to see you again next time!

Raising funds for Ruarwe Ambulance Boat

May 2017: The Ruarwe Ambulance Boat, built by Phunzira in 2013/14 and donated to the Ministry of Health in Malawi in 2015, has unfortunately been off the waters for the last 8 months. The boat was originally constructed in order to facilitate patient referrals from the clinics in Ruarwe and Khondowe to nearby Usisya, as well as to assist with patient emergencies.

    Since the boat handover ceremony in May 2015, the Ministry of Health has supplied all necessary provisions for the boat to run at least once a week to Usisya and back; this has proved to be an invaluable asset for people living in such a remote part of the country.

However the boat has sadly stopped running in recent months: the hope is that the increased annual health budget proposed in Malawi this year will help to get the boat back on track again, but in the meantime ex-volunteer Leah Desmond is working hard to raise funds for this worthy cause.

Many thanks to Leah for her continued support for so many of our health projects - from coming to join us as a voluntary doctor, to raising money to build a shelter at the nearby clinic, to helping get the ambulance boat get back on the water... Tawonga! To make a donation click here:

Wild Earth helping to support local clinics

May 2017: In November 2016 returning volunteer Hayley Crow kindly brought some haemoglobin meters to donate to Ruarwe and Khondowe government clinics. Community members walk up to 4 hours to attend the clinics for medical services, and Ruarwe clinic had been closed for over ten years when Hayley first volunteered with us.
The clinics were also lucky to receive a selection of Goal Zero solar products provided by Wild Earth. As well as the haemoglobin meters (which are essential for managing complications of anaemia in malaria, haemorrhage and various other scenarios), the solar equipment is also powering the sphygmomanometers (blood pressure monitors).
    The clinic staff would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone involved for helping
to improve healthcare provisions in a big way!

School uniforms for underprivileged children

  A huge thank you to Mandy Fuchs, who has been raising funds to help provide school uniforms for needy children in Ruarwe. In April 2017, 27 lucky primary school students from Ruarwe FP were the first to receive their donated uniforms, made by local tailor Bea Beans.
Mandy first came to Ruarwe as a volunteer in April 2015 and has since set up a student sponsorship scheme in a nearby area. As well as securing long-term donors, she has also provided women’s products to female students in the catchment area and is continuing to raise funds for further donations of uniforms for underprivileged children at other nearby primary schools.

A huge thank you to Mandy for her continued efforts to support needy students in the area, and also to tailor Bea Beans for his welcome discounts with making the uniforms - yewo!! If you would like to donate to Mandy's cause please go to:

NYM youth club hosts netball matches

Feb 2017: NYM youth club members are extremely proud of the new netball bibs kindly donated by Netball UK. To celebrate these new bibs, NYM youth club hosted Banda Primary School for a small netball tournament. The celebration began with singing and dancing in the NYM youth centre. Youth club members had fundraised within the community to buy a goat for a wonderful lunch shared between community members, the youth club and their visitors. Everyone then climbed the hill to the community ’netball court’ under the giant Baobab tree. The Junior NYM team, wearing the new navy bibs, beat Banda Juniors 1-0. Meanwhile, Banda Seniors played an excellent game, beating the older NYM youth students, wearing the yellow bibs, 8-3. Thank you again to Netball UK for these wonderful gifts. Having these bibs has really boosted female engagement, both with sports and with youth club attendance in general, for which we are very grateful.


2016 Accounts

The 2016 accounts for Phunzira and Nyumba ya Masambiro are now out! To take a look at our income and expenditure over last year go to the 'About the Trust' page or click here. 2016 was the year of the separation of Phunzira and NYM so remaining funds were transferred and no active fundraising took place. Phunzira prides itself on being fully transparent - we want our donors to know exactly where their money is going! - and we welcome any advice, comments or criticisms.

Haemoglobin meter and mini solar panel donation to the clinic

  November 2016:
We would like to extend a HUGE thank you to returning volunteer Hayley Crow who has arranged a large fundraiser in her native Australia to buy and bring out a battery and mains powered haemoglobin meter and solar panel with rechargeable batteries for the clinic. The device is the same as is currently used in other government clinics across Malawi and so the consumables will be supplied by the district health team meaning that this is a wonderful, sustainable gift! The haemoglobin meter has already been put to good use at the clinic for anaemia screening in severe malaria cases, aiding referrals for transfusion where necessary.

Hayley accompanied the equipment out to Ruarwe and assisted at the clinic for 5 weeks and offering any top-up training needed by the staff. Thank you to Hayley and her family for organising these wonderful gifts and to all the donors whose generosity has allowed this to happen. Yewo Chomene!!

Volunteer nurses provide informal contraceptive health education

October 2016: Teenage pregnancy is a very real problem across rural Malawi, resulting in girls dropping out from secondary education and, while re-admission policies do exist, it is unclear how well they are followed. In order to tackle this problem, two volunteer nurses conducted an informal contraceptive health education talk for both male and female school students in Khondowe. They provided extensive information about contraceptive services available at both the Khondowe and Ruarwe Health Centres and answered the students’ questions about contraception.
While sex education (including contraception) is on the school syllabus, this is sadly often overlooked due to both staffing and social pressures, amongst other issues.  Alice Worsley and Hannah Ward were able to start tackling this lack of education along with John Chilinde, project co-ordinator and youth leader at NYM. Thank you!

New netball bibs arrive in Malawi! 

We would like to extend a huge thank you to Netball UK for the donation of two sets of netball bibs to the Nyumba Ya Masambiro Youth Club. They arrived in Malawi at the end of August. The bibs, in navy blue and yellow, were worn with pride during the inaugural game on Friday September 16th 2016. The game was well attended by community members and the blue team won 7-4. The girls in the youth club are thrilled with the new bibs and plans are already afoot to set up matches against other local teams. Thanks you to Netball UK for making this possible and for supporting the promotion of sports for females in the community.


Elective nurses at Ruarwe Health Centre

  August 2016: We are delighted to have been able to host two more student nurses from the UK on their elective placement in Ruarwe. Isabel Billowes and Sarah Ball spent a month at the Ruarwe Health Centre.

They gained experience in common conditions such as Malaria and Pneumonia, and led the recovery of a burns patient under supervision. They also had the opportunity to see the clinic at Khondowe, and undertook some public health education.

We would also like to thank Izzy and Sarah for their very generous donations of footballs, netballs and chalk as well as other items for the Youth Club at NYM. Yewo Chomene and we look forward to seeing you in Ruarwe again soon!

Bittings Graduates

We are extremely proud of Bittings Nkhata for having successfully completed his M.A. training course at the Lilongwe College of Health Sciences. He will be starting his position as Medical Assistant of Ruarwe clinic in September. Now that we have a full time medical assistant from the local area, the clinic will at last be open permanently.

Congratulations Bittings!!! It has been a long road but your whole community is proud of you and we are thrilled that we were able to celebrate together with you at your graduation ceremony on 13th May 2016 in Lilongwe.

NYM 2016 Handover Celebration

The NYM handover party in Ruarwe on 23rd April was a huge success, many thanks to all those who worked so hard over the last few months to make it happen!

The morning session was our Annual General Meeting so discussions were held with guests from the catchment area to discuss NYM’s achievements from last year as well as its goals for 2016. The afternoon saw the arrival of the visitors coming by boat from Nkhata Bay (a particularly long journey – many thanks for travelling so far to join us!) and included a number of speeches as well as songs by the nursery and youth club, dances from the Mbotosha women, and an excellent production by Difficult & Bikilone (Ekhesha & John) who entered the arena dressed as ladies and entertained the crowd for a hilarious 20 minute drama.

Many thanks to those that came from near and far to join us for this special occasion, and a special thanks to those that gave money to appreciate Maria’s English alphabet recital – you have collectively paid for her nursery tuition until the end of the year, yewo!

NYM has now been officially handed over to the staff and the wider community to manage independently. This was a very special day for NYM, Phunzira and Ruarwe Village, and we would like to thank everyone that has helped us along this epic journey – from Malawi to England to America to Australia! TAWONGA CHOMENI!


IT Room up and running

April 2016: We are very pleased to announce that the IT room at Nyumba Ya Masambiro has officially opened. IT lessons are now taking place on an almost daily basis led by the manager Watts Mkhuta. Thank you to Rob Hook for sorting out our electricity at the centre in order to allow this to happen, to Phillip Zheng for helping out with the first few lessons and all the kind donors who have passed on laptops to NYM when they were finished with them. So far 9 people from the community have started their lessons and many more are enquiring and keen to start soon.

Girls at youth club

March 2016: We are thrilled to let you know that for the first time in many years we have had more females than males attending a Junior Youth Club sports session!

Following many fact-sharing sessions with the community members (particularly parents), as well as the employment of a female Project Assistant and a focus on Gender Equality in NYM's youth initiatives, the efforts of John Chilinde, Rabecca Vinkhumbo and all staff at NYM have paid off resulting in a boost in female attendance at Youth Club.

The girls played a vibrant game of netball while the boys were busy on the football pitch. We very much hope that this is a sign of times to come!

Handover date selected: 23rd April 2016

We are proud to announce that a date has been selected for the handover of NYM to the local community - Saturday 23rd April!
Thank you to everyone that has assisted us over the years, including volunteers, donors and schools. Since 2010 we have constructed a community centre which runs a library, nursery, youth club and academic tutorials, introduced renewable energy, re-opened the health clinic, built an ambulance boat, constructed science laboratories at the secondary schools, set up a student sponsorship scheme... and much, much more!
We would not be here today without the support and help that we've been lucky enough to receive so far. Over the last 5 years we have received and donated over £85,000 to NYM for these projects, and have been lucky enough to accommodate over 130 volunteers from across the globe, from UK to US to Australia and between!

If any well wishers or volunteers that have joined us along our epic journey are thinking of making a trip to Malawi, then on Saturday 23rd April come along and join the party in Ruarwe.

Student sponsorships start a new school year

January 2016:
It's the start of a new year for Erik Grootveld’s Malawi School Scholarships scheme, and pupils have entered the new school year. Bunga and Khondowe CDSS have both made their selections, a process that's organised and supported by our Youth Leader John Chilinde. 

Every effort has been made to promote the education of girls in this scheme and this year, of the 10 new students chosen at Khondowe, 8 are girls and 2 boys, while at Bunga 6 are girls and 4 boys. Thank you to Erik for the scheme and to John for arranging things so well on the ground. Good luck this school year to the students sponsored!

Facebook page - come and like us!

We are constantly adding details of our new projects to our Phunzira Facebook page, and for volunteers and well-wishers there are many additional photos of Ruarwe and Malawi - please 'like' our page to receive regular updates on our progress as well as notifications on events we're running in the UK.

Come and join us!