A group of Malawians living in the United Kingdom (UK) have set up a funeral contribution scheme to provide financial support to member families in the event of death.
Named Umunthu Funeral Scheme (UFS), the scheme will enable members give dignified send-off to the departed while easing the financial stress and burden on the family thereby allowing them to grieve and bid farewell in a proper manner.
The Scheme is set to be virtually launched, live on Facebook and Zoom on the 5th Sept 2020 by the Malawi High Commissioner to the UK , Kena Mphonda.
Practising solicitor Dr Boniface Chimpango, the legal mastermind behind the initiative, told Nyasa Times that UFS has been registered with Companies House as a company limited by guarantee (as a charity) and, as such, it is subject to company law under England and Wales.
“This will give comfort to our members that we are a genuine, legally constituted organisation that will abide by the law and be governed by necessary legislation,” said Chimpango.
Yendamo Kasomekera Kapalamula, one of the members who has been instrumental in the formation of the scheme, stated that the sole aim of UFS is to provide financial support to member families in the event of death.
“Our objective is to ensure that the remains of our loved ones are laid to rest in a dignified manner, as such, ease the financial stress and burden on the family thereby allowing them to grieve and bid farewell in a dignified manner,” said Kapalamula.
Another founding member, Edith Parker, said UFS operates under the concept and notion of “Umunthu” or “Ubunthu”.
“As such, members are promised prompt and guaranteed pay-outs. The genius of UFS is that it has a wide cover of up to 4 beneficiaries in the UK and 2 in Malawi for each member, and it is very easy to join with no medical check-ups required,” said Parker.
Mphonda has since praised the team for this initiative.
“This is an excellent initiative that is long overdue in the Malawian community. It has come at the right time when the community has grown and there are incidents that need to be addressed,” he said.
However, coordinator of the launch event, Hannah Chasowa, bemoaned the fact that the momentous occasion will have to be launched virtually due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
Chasowa said they would have loved to launch it with pomp for the community.
“However, we are aware of the times we are living so the health and safety of our members is of paramount importance hence our decision to launch it virtually,” she said.
Another England-based Malawian practising solicitor Sheriff Kaunde welcomed the initiative.
“We have been waiting for a service like this in our community. Our people have been facing difficulties every time they have been faced with death so to come up with a scheme like this is a brilliant idea,” said Kaunde, the Managing Partner of Liberty Immigration Services Ltd based in Leicester.
In her remarks, Joyce Juma-Phiri, who is the Chairperson of Association of Malawians in Scotland and also a founding member, was appreciative of the effort shown by the members.
“I can speak on behalf of my Scottish counterparts that this scheme is unique in the sense that for the first time in the history of Malawians in the UK, we have done something that spans across the borders; thus include Scotland, Wales and Ireland. I personally look forward to working with my colleagues in this part of the UK to ensure that days of stress when one is grief stricken are over,” said Juma-Phiri.
Janine Sankhani, as a founding member of UFS, praised the team which has been behind this initiative.
“We have a set of patriotic, skilled, talented Malawians who have seen this idea from inception to fruition. The members have been working very hard for the past 4 months, taking their time to ensure that Malawians have a service that is catered for them and owned by them,” said Sankhani.
She said the UFS is not only for these founding members, but rather, for Malawi as a whole.
Meanwhile, the grouping has commended organisations and individuals, including Hannington Gondwe, the outgoing chairperson of the Malawi Association UK, who have been very supportive throughout the process.
To learn more about UFS, log onto their website and social media platforms as below:
Email: [email protected]
Whatsapp Telephone: + 44 (0) 7778392976
Instagram: umunthufuneralFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :