Family providing a lifeline for poor in Malawi

Geoff Howard with Pastor Lackson Dzungu village elder SUS-161214-121314001
Geoff Howard with Pastor Lackson Dzungu village elder SUS-161214-121314001
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In Southern Africa, one of the poorest nations on earth, a family from 1066 Country are trying to make a difference.

Dr Elizabeth Howard, who grew up in Bexhill together with her husband Dr Kyle James from St Leonards, moved to Blantyre in Malawi in 2015 with their two daughters.

Liz and Kyle James. SUS-161215-091256001

Liz and Kyle James. SUS-161215-091256001

They have recently been joined by Elizabeth’s sister Katie, a chartered physiotherapist who will be helping Elizabeth and Kyle.

Kyle is a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon leading a small team of African surgeons performing life-changing operations for hundreds of children with malformed or badly injured limbs who would otherwise end up as outcasts, often having to resort to begging for a livelihood.

Elizabeth volunteers her medical skills at weekly outreach clinics in some of the poorest villages.

Here she encounters malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea, which are the three biggest causes of death in children under five. Malaria is a debilitating disease for both adults and children alike and the cost of treatment for this disease is £1.20, or half the cost of a cup of Starbucks coffee.

Despite this, Elizabeth often runs out of supplies and struggles for resources to purchase more of these lifesaving treatments.

The prevention of Malaria is greatly aided by the use of mosquito nets to sleep under at night. The majority of the population are unable to afford the £5 cost of each net.

As the UK approaches the Christmas season, Malawians approach the ‘hungry season’ when their stores of food from the previous year’s harvest are depleted.

Elizabeth’s parents Jan and Geoff Howard organise food relief by identifying the poorest people in a village through consultation with the elders, who keep records of everyone living in the community.

The Howard family are urging the people of Bexhill to get behind their cause this Christmas as they target the two primary needs of these poor and hungry people - malaria treatments and nets, and white maize for food.

One hundred per cent of donations go directly to these two causes and all the family members are volunteers, so there are no administration costs.

To offer support, visit the website at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Bexhill-MalawiLifeline.

Have you checked out our new Christmas section yet?

It’s packed with ideas and tips to ensure you make the most out of the festive season.

There’s recipes, suggestions for presents and everything from choosing your tree to recycling your packaging and paper.

Go to www.bexhillobserver.net/christmas/