Frequently Asked Questions

Are you a registered charity?

Yes, we are a Scottish charity registered with OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator). Our charity number is SC045661.

Are you a religious organisation?

No, our trustees, donors and supporters come from a variety of backgrounds and beliefs. We do, however, enjoy the support of churches both in Orkney and Malawi. Malawi is predominantly a Christian country and our children come from a variety of Christian denominations and we also support several Muslim children. Our Malawian tutors are members of the CCAP (Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian) which supports us by enabling its music staff to attend our activity weeks as tutors.

Where does your funding come from?

We rely on donations from individuals, organisations and grant-giving bodies, plus fundraising activities organised by ourselves and others.

How do you monitor the use of funds?

Our funds are held in Orkney and transferred only on receipt of invoices. The funds for school bursaries are managed in Malawi by a qualified accountant who submits regular financial reports. One of our Malawian staff monitors the children’s school attendance and progress and all children who receive bursaries are required to produce their school reports. Young people receiving post-school bursaries sign a contract with us and we receive their termly reports. All our bursary recipients are interviewed regularly by Malawian staff and a MMF trustee.

How do you select children for the project?

We work in partnership with five primary schools in the district of Mulanje. The head teachers of the schools are invited to recommend orphaned children who would benefit most from what we offer. We request that the children are orphans between the ages of 9 and 12 and we visit the schools to meet the children before final decisions are made.  We meet each guardian who is required to sign a consent form.

How much does it cost to send a child to school or a young person to university?

The cost of sending a child to a government day secondary school is £100 a year. This covers school fees, uniform, shoes, exercise books, pens and pencils, exam fees and a small living allowance. Occasionally, a child may be selected for a government boarding school and the cost for this rises to around £270 a year.

The cost of university or college tuition – fees, computer, accommodation, meals, transport and incidental expenses – is approximately £1,800 per year.

Do any of your young people undertake vocational training?

Yes, we’ve funded courses in tailoring, IT, welding, electrical installation, catering and hospitality.  Costs vary between £350 for a short course to £1,600 a year for a full-time course at a technical college.

Can I sponsor an individual child?

No. We wish to treat every child equally and avoid jealousy; so donations towards secondary school bursaries are held in a restricted fund which is used to support all our secondary school children equally.

Can I help support a young person through post-school education?

We are always happy to discuss the possibility of supporting a young person studying at university or college or undertaking vocational training.

Why do you run activities in music and the arts?

It would certainly be easier simply to send money to pay for school fees! But our activity weeks are designed to build the children’s self-confidence, to enable them to make friends with others in a similar situation and to give them time to just ‘be a child’. And their performances as Likhubula Children’s Choir enable them to realise that they can succeed. They benefit from comfortable accommodation and nutritious food and their guardians comment that they return home healthier and happier. We know each child as an individual and for many of them the group has become their family.

Can I help with the project in Malawi?

Volunteers have frequently accompanied one of our trustees and have helped with the running of activities in music, art, craft, sport, dance and drama.  Please contact us if this would interest you.

How else can I help?

Donations of any size are always appreciated. You can support us by attending our fund-raising events – or by organising your own!  And, importantly, you can let others know about what we do.

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