Malawi Pres. Banda meets Scottish schoolgirl blogger, says she is ‘inspirational’

A Scottish schoolgirl blogger and charity fundraiser met Malawian President Joyce Banda on Monday, March 18, 2013 in Scotland as part of a week of celebrations marking 200 years since the birth of missionary David Livingstone.

Martha Payne, 10, a pupil at Lochgilphead Primary School in Argyll manages the ‘NeverSeconds’ blog. She has raised £129,000 for the Scotland-based charity Mary’s Meals, which provides food for children in Malawi.

She met President Banda at an event in Edinburgh organised by Scotland Malawi Partnership. The encounter came less than six months after Martha and her family visited Malawi.

Speaking after the event, Martha said: “When I started my blog, I thought my own school food was the most important thing about it. I now know the most important thing is the friends it has brought together and the help we have given each other. I think about my friends in Malawi often. I am really pleased to be a part of today’s celebration and very happy to meet President Banda.”

President Banda and blogger Martha
President Banda and blogger Martha

During the colourful event, pupils from the city’s Stenhouse Primary School sang Malawian songs to welcome the President. The venue was also dressed in 850 Scottish and Malawian flags, representing the 85,000 people in Scotland said to be engaged in “active partnerships” with Malawi each year.

Banda called Martha her “10-year-old little friend” and invited her to visit if she travels again to Malawi.

Addressing the schoolgirl during the gathering in Edinburgh, she said: “Next time you visit Malawi, I hope you let me know so you can come to State House. We have a lot in common.”

Following their meeting,  President Banda described Martha as an inspiration.

“Martha is an inspiration not only to me but to all people. She has achieved so much in reaching out and helping people in Malawi, with Malawians themselves. This is the kind of partnership that we want,” she said.

“It’s not that Malawians don’t know what to do and it’s not that they don’t know how to get … to a better life but they lack the resources, they lack the capacity to achieve that.

“What they are looking for is partnership and in this little girl you can see the respect that she has for Africans. It is obvious that it’s coming from the heart. It’s genuine. I’m very grateful to people like Martha Payne and I can only say that they have a friend in State House any time.

“I hope that we can continue to keep in touch and work together for the betterment of the lives of Malawians.”

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