Last week I welcomed representatives of Malawi Underprivileged Mothers (MUMs) to Parliament to showcase their work to MSPs.
The charity was formed in 2005 by Edinburgh midwife, Linda McDonald, after she heard stories and saw photographs of the difficult conditions at Bwaila Hospital in Malawi. The accounts of conditions at the hospital highlighted high mortality rates for both mothers and babies and the lack of resources available to doctors to care for them.
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.
For a week in Parliament, representatives of the charity displayed a quilt produced by two Edinburgh mums inspired by the images from ‘When the Rain Comes’. After being shown in Parliament, the quilt was raffled off with proceeds going to support MUMs’ current feeding project.
Earlier this 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 so it was a real privilege to be able to welcome them to Parliament.