Three days and four celebrations. Across the weekend and today, Monday we have celebrated International Day of Happiness, International Day of Forests, World Poetry Day and World Water Day.
This past year has been tough but today of all days we should be happy because it’s International Day of Happiness.
Malawi is known as the Warm Heart of Africa. It’s a beautiful country full of beautiful happy people. It’s truly the people that make it such a special place.
Despite the challenges and struggles that many face living in rural Malawi, people remain happy and optimistic. It is hard to visit a family or a village without being greeted by smiling happy faces like those we’ve shared with you.
At Ripple Africa, through our Environment, Education and Healthcare projects, we strive to empower communities so they themselves can achieve a sustainable future.
Everything Ripple Africa does is in response to the local communities’ needs and by enabling them to make simple changes, great things can happen. Our ethos “providing a hand UP and not a hand out,” has been central to the charity’s ideology for nearly two decades.
We hope you find a moment of happiness today.
The theme of this year’s International Day of Forests is “Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being”.
Forests are crucial as, amongst other things, they protect biodiversity and mitigate climate change. Through our Forest Conservation project we have empowered 140 local communities to take ownership of their forests and set up local forest conservation committees.
1,400 volunteers are now actively caring for their forests – educating others about the importance of forest conservation and working alongside Forestry Department staff to patrol the forested hills and reduce illegal activity.
Some of these committees have even introduced bee keeping – people are less likely to cut down trees if they are scared of getting stung and the honey provides food and income.
To celebrate World Poetry Day Kapanda Community Day Secondary School’s Writers Club shared a poem they recently wrote about the pandemic.
Poetry is often perceived as old-fashioned and not relevant in today’s society but poetry is all around us – think of pop songs and rap!
Whilst we would love to be sharing a happier poem, the pandemic is a topic of discussion at Writer’s Club at the moment and this is an extract of what the students have written.
“COVID 19, The fight is for us”
Bleats and cries are echoing
The race is fading
For any treatment is failing
Daily routines are changing
Corona is colonizing
For COVID 19 is mercilessly killing
From deserted streets and doomed classrooms
I stand to counter the shutter of my country
The cause of this desolation
The origin of this fear and isolation
This year’s World Water Day is about learning “What does water mean to people?”. So what does it mean to people in rural Malawi?
Most people in rural Malawi do not have running water in their homes so have to walk to their nearest borehole. A borehole is a simple manual pump which provides fresh and clean water.
Although lots of charities put money into drilling new boreholes – which is wonderful – very few organisations contribute ongoing funds for maintenance. Like everything, the boreholes can become damaged and need repairing but District Councils and the communities do not have the funds to do this.
However, by repairing the boreholes, it reduces over-crowding at the ones that are working. To date we have equipped District Councils, who have the staff who are capable of fixing boreholes, with spare parts and funds to get the teams out to repair over 400 boreholes in Nkhata Bay and Nkhotakota Districts.
But there are hundreds still to repair and it can cost as little as £100 to provide clean water to hundreds of people.
Believe it or not, some of the boreholes we have fixed have not been working for over 10 years. These simple repairs really do make a world of difference to people in such a very short space of time.