I recently attended an annual fundraising lunch for local charity, Malawi Underprivileged Mothers (MUMs).
The charity was formed in 2005 by Edinburgh midwife, Linda McDonald, after she heard accounts of difficult conditions at Bwaila Hospital in Malawi. There, and across Malawi, facilities are limited and mortality rates among mothers and babies remain high.
MUMs now works to enhance maternity care at the hospital through a range of fundraising initiatives. The charity has produced a range of cook books and a children’s book, ‘When the Rains Come’, the proceeds of which support projects in Lilongwe.
The annual lunch raises money through ticket sales, raffles and auctions and once again thousands of pounds was pledged to support the charity’s work.
Last year I was in Malawi as part of a Parliament delegation and visited the Joyful Motherhood project which is based at Bwaila Hospital. The project supports the development of young babies who have been orphaned or who have lost their mother in childbirth and at any one time as many as 100 babies are on their books. I’ll never forget meeting the family of a 2 day old baby who were given support by the project to help bring her up and seeing the real impact of money raised by MUMs in Scotland.
The visit to the project provided a stark reminder of the serious challenges facing Malawi to tackle rural poverty and to invest in infrastructure to improve the life chances of pregnant women and their babies. This challenge chimes with the work that MUMs is taking forward and it was a real privilege to join them for the lunch.
This year marks ten years since the charity was started and Linda and the members of the charity’s board have decided that it’s time to hand on the mantle of campaigning to other groups. However as we celebrated the improvements in maternal health that MUMs has been instrumental in delivering Linda has one last fundraising project in the pipeline.
I was delighted therefore to support my colleague Alex Fergusson MSP in his motion which welcomes this last fundraising push.