At the recent Scotland Malawi Partnership Member Awards event, LuvPlus were given the opportunity to meet with Princess Anne, and inform her of the work we undertake. Nigel was able to update her on the needs of People Affected by Leprosy in sub-Saharan Africa, and more specifically about some of the LuvPlus projects in Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania.
We heard recently that Bernardo, the village chief of the leprosy community at Utale, had died. Fr. Francis travelled to Utale to take the funeral and he was understandably upset as he has known Bernado for over 15 years and they got on really well.
It is unclear exactly how old he was – probably mid 80’s which is remarkable for someone with such bad leprosy. He arrived in Utale in 1946 from the south of Malawi and stayed there ever since, marrying and having numerous children and grandchildren. Nobody seems to know how long he has been the chief for.
Attached are 3 photos, one when President Banda visited – he is 3rd to the right of her, wearing his trademark yellow crochet hat, another one with Nigel and the community at Utale after a meeting and finally one with 2 of his grandchildren. He was a great chief helping all he could but he also loved to drink the local whisky/kachasu and to dance !
A remarkable man – RIP Bernardo.
In March 2016, LUV+ secured £60,000 for 8 new income-generating projects in E Zambia and S Tanzania- £48,000 from the Scottish government’s International Development program’s Small Grant scheme and £12,000 from the Souter Charitable Trust in Scotland.
Starting in the summer of 2016 and lasting for 2 years, the projects will provide vital income to some of the most neglected communities in sub-Saharan Africa, ranging from the rearing of chickens to building maize mills.
Our overall aim is to provide an income-generating project to every leprosy community in 4 of the poorest countries of southern Africa (Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe).
On the same day a fundraising meal was held at the Piatto Verde restaurant in Edinburgh and over £500 was raised. The money was used to buy new mattresses for all the patients.
On 7th September 2013 a fundraising event, Magnolias for Malawi, was held in Glasgow. There was an exhibition of flower arranging, some Indian drumming music and a magic show to end with.
Again, over £500 was raised which went to pay for a 2nd hand motorcycle to enable medical staff to visit surrounding villages where they can treat minor ailments and explain the facts about leprosy in an attempt to de-stigmatise the condition.
On 27th January 2013 LUV hosted a special event to celebrate World Leprosy Day. Local politicians, doctors and teachers came to Utale to hear the patients talk about the realities of leprosy and to hear Fr Francis describe his work at the community. There was traditional singing and dancing and the patients enjoyed a special meal that evening.
On 3rd September 2013 LUV was delighted to host a visit from the President of Malawi, Mrs Joyce Banda. She spent over an hour with the patients, listening to their concerns and offering gifts of blankets and food. Speeches were made by the President, by Fr Francis Kachere who supervises the leprosy community and by the patients elected Headman.
People came from many villages in the surrounding district and after her departure a traditional celebration was held, with special food, drinks, music and dancing. LUV would like to thank Mrs Banda for her visit, which will hopefully be the first of many.