Malawi - Community Overseas Aid Project (COAP)
Please use the Smile Malawi website
to keep up to date with this inspirational project
UPDATE IN MARCH 2015 (submitted to this website)
It has been some time since my last update from the Community Overseas Aid Project (COAP) and, for various reasons, the committee has not had time to devote to fund raising events over the last couple of years. Recently some new faces have expressed an interest in becoming involved and this has injected some fresh enthusiasm into the existing committee. We are now active again and intend to run some fund raising activities over the coming months including a Quiz Night on 21 November.
Although dormant in terms of fund raising activities, COAP has continued its support for the Smile Malawi children’s centre with the funds donated by church steering groups and ad hoc contributions. Smile Malawi was established by Sittingbourne civil engineer Elspeth Baecke in 2006 to provide care for vulnerable childen from the nearby city of Blantyre. COAP funds have been put towards the construction of a new kitchen, new dormitory block and, more lately, an oven for baking bread: Elspeth is keen for Smile Malawi to have some income generating actvities of its own and the sale of bread to the local community is one such scheme. The orphanage also has a knock-on benefit of employing 20 or so staff from the local village. Some of these staff have recently had the devastating experience of seeing their mud brick homes damaged or completely destroyed as a consequence of the severe flooding that has affected much of Malawi. Those who have been made homeless have been temporarily accommodated at the children’s centre. Elspeth has launched an appeal to re-house them. You can find out more at https://www.justgiving.com/floodreliefstaff
Formed in 2001 COAP is a community based mission scheme whose aim it is to raise funds for humanitarian aid projects overseas. To date COAP has raised over £40,000 for a variety of causes in Malawi. If you would like to get involved with COAP by helping at fundraising activities or in other ways then please contact Bruce Leckie, COAP Chairman.
UPDATE IN MARCH 2014
It has been some time since my last update from the Community Overseas Aid Project (COAP) and, for various reasons, the committee have not had time to devote to fund raising events. Anybody wishing to become involved and help us out would be most welcome. However plans are now afoot for some events in the coming months.
COAP receives income from donations as well as from fund raising events and the committee would like to use recently accrued funds to continue with the support for the Smile Malawi orphanage. The orphanage was established by Sittingbourne civil engineer Elspeth Baecke in 2006 to provide care for vulnerable childen from the nearby city of Blantyre. Previously COAP funds have been put towards the construction of new kitchen and dormitory blocks. I recently asked Elspeth what she could put the current funds towards and I reproduce her reply here. It illustrates her ambition for the oprhange to support itself rather than be wholly reliant on donations and other outside support. At the time of writing she was in Malawi herself:
“…then came here on unpaid leave as the trip was already planned. I return tomorrow.
I've had a very hectic time as my matron went on leave to Zimbabwe as we had agreed and i have run the show for 3 weeks!! I've had a great time though and will miss them all so much. I took 4 new children too.
I am starting a project to bake bread rolls to sell and use ourselves. My older girls love to bake and I feel this could lead to an employment opportunity for them or even a start to their own business later.
We need a fairly basic oven that is made here from an old steel drum and powered by wood at the back. It's very good and ideal for bread, cakes etc. To set it all up including the oven will cost at least ₤1000 so this would be a very good use! The oven is ₤600 at today's exchange rate. We also need to adapt the outside kitchen which will cost approx ₤500 and then we need cookware and basins etc.
Other than this we are breeding pigs and goats again and this needs ₤200 for building and maintenance.
I have also started to build another guest house - only dug part of the foundations but we need funding for the rest. I have not worked out final cost but it is likely to be about ₤5000. The building is a traditional round guest house with thatched roof. I have photos which I will send once home - the internet is too poor here to attach. Tourism is a very good source of income for us and I would like to develop it more to give a sustainable future for the Centre. Again, lots of potential work for my children.”
COAP would like to help Elspeth realise some of her objectives.
Bruce Leckie, COAP Chairman