President Joyce Banda has commended humanitarian campaigner who helps thousands of orphans in Malawi through charity Friends of Mulanje (Fomo), Mary Woodworth.
“The work that your organisation is doing is the same work that I am doing across the country,” President Banda said at Sanjika Palace during an audience which she had with members of the group on Thursday.
Woodworth was being persecuted by the late president Bingu wa Mutharika government , pressing criminal charges against her and snatching her British passport after jeopardising powerful business interests in a land dispute.
She took advantage of the audience to explain the problems FOMO faced under the DPP regime.
Government fabricated criminal charges against Woodworth in order to stop her from reclaiming her land, which had been illegally taken over by the adjacent tea estate in 2008.
The Chitakale tea plantation is owned by Leston Mulli, managing director of Mulli Brothers Limited and one of Malawi’s most influential businessmen during the Mutharika regime.
Government then grabbed the land from Woodworth and gave it to Davie Kanyoza, a business partner and Mulli’s protégé.
Woodworth said her programme is supporting over 5000 children through a network of 13 centres in Mulanje district.
She said the organisation covers all aspects of the children’s welfare including health through outreach clinic, formal and informal education, food production and food security .
“We also cover pre-school, out of school activities and further learning through play schools, computer, driving and tailoring schools,’ added Woodworth, a British national of Malawian origin.
The programme also covers the provision of school materials, personal items (Soap, clothes, blankets, mosquito nets) and community based bore holes.
President Banda hailed the organisation for the good work that it is doing but was quick to point out that she was concerned with what was happening at Chitakale over land issue.
She therefore assured the delegation that she will carefully look into the matter and see how best it can be solved for the mutual benefit of both parties.
“You are doing a very commendable work and it is the same work that I am doing across the country. I am supporting over 3000 children across the country in paying for their school fees,” added Banda.
“Let me thank you, our partners in development for the support that you always render to us. I am ashamed with what is happening at this place and please do not stop helping us because of this. We will sort it out,” President Banda said.
FOMO is run by a very small staff with over 150 local volunteers and funds are raised by a small but resourceful volunteer committee in the UK.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :