Jojanneke Heidema - Chairman
During my Paediatric registrar training I got the chance to work in Malawi for three months. During this period I gained an enormous life experience. From the medical point of view I learnt how to deal with medical situations without the diagnostic and therapeutic resources that are usually available. I am very impressed by how such an incredible good care was delivered with such a small budget, due to the knowledge and effort of a very motivated team. I admire the mothers and the children who, despite the very poor living conditions and the losses they have to deal with, can keep up a cheerful and positive attitude. They are always in for a game or a friendly word and together they make the best of it. People in Malawi live so much closer to each other than people in the western world do.
The three months in Africa made me realize that I want to do something good for these people. Because of my job medical care is closest to my heart, in which, because of a severe shortage of medical staff, a lot of strictly necessary care can not be delivered. With the Medulawi foundation I hope we can contribute to the improvement of medical care. By financing education I hope we can also give very poor people a chance for a better future.
Merel van Loon - Secretary
In 1996 I started Medical School at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands. After my graduation in 2003 I worked in a missionary hospital in Papua, Indonesia as a general doctor for a period of three months. I really enjoyed working there. I was very interested in tropical diseases, but also in the social-cultural and anthropological differences compared to the western world. I also felt that it was a challenge to give patients as good as possible care with the scarce resources that we had.
I have been working in Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital, Blantyre from August 2007 until March 2008 as a part of my Paediatric specialist registrar training. QECH is a central hospital, which means that medical care is provided and paid by the government, so patients do not need to pay for the health care in this hospital. As a result it mainly attracts poor people. Since the government's financial sources are scarce, the diagnostic and therapeutic resources are limited, as is the number of medical staff members compared to the number of patients.
During the six months I spent in QECH I did not only learn how tropical and "poverty diseases" are prevented and treated; I've also seen the often lamentable conditions most people in Malawi live in and how difficult and often hopeless their social circumstances can be. With this organization I hope we can contribute to a better future for at least a few of these people.
Janneke van der Kamp - Treasurer
I've had the privilege to enjoy many forms of education; following Montessori primary- and secondary school, I did a Masters in Chemistry at the Utrecht University and a Bachelors in Violin at the Rotterdam Music College, both in The Netherlands. After working for a few years, I then took a year off to do an MBA at INSEAD, France. This extensive education opened up lot of opportunites and enabled me to get several (for me) interesting jobs; first in strategy consulting, and now since 5 years at Novartis Pharmaceuticals.
Clearly, the contrast between the education I got and the fact that in Malawi most children don't even have the possibility to go to secondary school, is enormous. My visit to Malawi in March '08 was a real life confirmation of how this lack of education and poverty form a vicious cycle: because of the low level of education, people don't have the skills to start up and run significant commercial activities, which in turn leads to no economic growth. As an example: the (very few!) tourist facilities that Malawi has are owned and run by foreigners…
I'm convinced that through funding school fees for children in Malawi, we can contribute to breaking this vicious cycle - hence my passion for Medulawi!
Medulawi Foundation is represented by 3 Dutch people in Malawi, who ensure that the donated money is well spent.
The Local Team
In Malawi, several people are working hard to invest the money of the Medulawi Foundation usefully.
Nchima Trust, whose people verify that all children who receive a scholarship are needy, selects the school children. They visit all children every three months to monitor their progress. The three people who voluntarily attend the children for us are Jeannie, Rosena and Frank.
Jeannie is originally from Zimbabwe, but moved nine years ago with her Malawian husband to Thyolo. Initially she worked as a sales manager for a factory in agricultural machinery. In 2011 she was asked to become chief executive for Nchima Trust. To be able to fulfil this function, she quit her job at the factory.
Rosena started her work for Nchima Trust in 2008. She is a secretary at an electricity company and besides that she works 4-5 days a month voluntarily for Nchima Trust.She selects children for a scholarship. She visits the children who applied for a scholarship at their secondary schools to talk to them and thereafter she visits the village where the child lives unannounced, to check whether it is true what is told to her about the social and financial circumstances.
Frank studied social sciences on a Nchima scholarship, since his family did not have enough resources to pay his studies. During his studies he already worked to Nchima Trust, which he kept on doing after he had finished. He works for a state company that helps small companies to get started. He voluntarily regulates Nchima’s finances, helps with community work and accompanies the children with their schoolwork.
In Kamuzu Central Hospital we work together with Rachel Mlotha-Mitole, a paediatrician with whom Jojanneke and Merel have worked during their training in Malawi. Rachel is now the head of department of Paediatrics in the biggest hospital in Lilongue. Under her supervision, the hospital was equipped according to the need of care of the patients, which has led to a great improvement in the standard of care. In 2013 the Medulawi Foundation has appointed Jackline, an intensive care nurse from Kenya who has trained the other nurses in basic and advanced paediatric life support. Under her leadership the acute care is delivered much better and more efficient.