The Malawi projects were started in 2015 by a group of Trade Unionists in branch 733 a part of the Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance. ( NIPSA) the initial plan was to build a school in a local village where the children attending school were being taught outside under a tree. The cost of building the school was £15,000 and in the first year we raised a total of £45,000.
The school building was funded by the group as opposed to being built by us which was important. We insisted that local workers were employed for the duration of the building works. This meant that locals were paid a wage for a number of months and some were taught new skills.
Our concept from the outset has been that we provide a hand up not a hand out. We insist that any money given to projects is used to develop self sustainable activities which can grow and develop.
While the core group is made up of NIPSA activists we welcome volunteers from any quarter. We have volunteers from a wide variety of backgrounds and age profiles.
In order to become a volunteer applicants are interviewed by a member of the team and must be prepared to complete an application form and undergo a police check. Hours of involvement and frequency are agreed to suit the needs of each volunteer. We have a variety of roles including manning our shop, collecting donations or processing donations. We also require volunteers to assist in fundraising activities such as street collections, quizzes or any other fundraising efforts.