In the heart of  Africa lies the small country of Malawi. Just 800 miles long and 150 miles wide, its population is roughly 13 million.  The lowest point in Malawi is just 37 m above sea level. The highest point is the peak of Sapitwa which is just over 3,000m high (twice the height of Ben Nevis). The capital city is Lilongwe. Lake Malawi, known as the “calendar lake” because of its shape runs along the whole of the /eastern border of Malawi.

            According to the UN, Malawi is the  17th poorest country in the world. Life expectancy is around 41 years and 14% of the population is believed to have HIV/AIDS.

The link between the Birmingham /diocese and the 4 Dioceses of Malawi will reach its 50th anniversary I 2016. the link was made so that Dioceses can support each other in the work of God in their own contexts. It started with a meeting between the two Bishops in 1966, but has grown and widened over four decades.                            

         There is a focus on celebrating our shared faith and showing mutual support in the face of our varying challenges.                                                                                                                        

           Each year Birmingham Diocese gives a grant for “general support” of £10,000 to each of the 4 Malawi Dioceses ad £8,000 to the Anglican Council, which co-ordinates their activities. This money is raised by gifts from parishes within the Birmingham Diocese. St. Hilda’s  has contributed to this annual gift for a number of years. Support to the Malawi Dioceses is one of the five charities selected by St. Hilda’s  as the main recipients of our corporate charitable giving.

          The money given by St. Hilda’s and other Birmingham parishes is used to help finance the activities of each  of the Dioceses.

These cover many of the activities provided by the state in this country.

The Diocese runs schools, hospitals and even teaches methods of sustainable agriculture. As is the case in many African countries, Aids is a major problem within Malawi and the Diocese is also involved in community education, nutrition and health development programmes.

        Money is also raised for “special projects”. In 2005 over £100,000 was raised to provide 60 motorbikes for rural parishes. One of the special projects at the moment is the refurbishment of 7 schoolteachers’  houses at Linga school at Nkhotakota.

These are gradually being refurbished as money becomes available, at a cost of £6,000 each. However it is important that ”general support” is not diverted to these “special projects” as the Malawi Dioceses rely on our regular support to finance their vital activities in the areas of education and healthcare.

If you want to know more about the Malawi link, you can visit the website, by clicking on the logo above.

                There was a “Taste of Malawi” evening last September at St. Martin’s Church in the Bull Ring, where we heard Bishop David talking about the latest  trip to Malawi in May 2014, We sampled some Malawian food and learnt how to assemble a solar stove!

        Andrew Millross