OUR Celtic FC Foundation volunteers arrived in Blantyre, Malawi on Monday night after a long journey which kicked off at Celtic Park at 8am on Sunday. The first evening included a meeting with representatives from Mary’s Meals, the Foundation’s placement partner in this initiative,followed by a well-deserved rest for the weary group.
Bright and early on Tuesday morning the volunteers made a stop at the Mary’s Meals headquarters to see, first hand, the sheer volume and invaluable nature of the operation. Inspired and excited and now split into two working groups, they made the journey to their respective centres for children aged under six, which are supported by the Mary’s Meals feeding programme.
Group 1: Laura Gaffney, Niall Keogh, Carol McGurin, Derek and Kathleen Noonan, Lynn Tennent and Gerry and Kiera White arrived at Mkwate Madulira Under-Six Centre to a sea of children in full Celtic kit, bringing huge smiles to every face.
Meanwhile, their fellow volunteers in Group 2 – Mark Cameron, John Cassidy, Dannika Drain, Rachel Kelly, Sean Kirwan, Mairi McAslan, Stevie McComiskie and Erin McGeough – received an identical welcome at Area 5 Under-Six Centre, including some beautiful songs by the children to portray their happiness in response to their Celtic visitors.
Both groups made a start on renovating the classroom areas, helped with the feeding programme and made a host of new friends as they spent time playing games, teaching and laughing with the children.
With each group having completed the majority of the preliminary work, they returned to their respective schools on Wednesday to kick off the educational artwork phase to create what Mary’s Meals call ‘talking walls’.
Our volunteers are painting the alphabet, numbers, shapes, colours, days of the week, months of the year and maybe the odd Celtic FC Foundation crest directly on to the classroom walls. Without any budget for basic teaching supplies such as text books, jotters, pencils, etc, these educational aids are both long lasting and absolutely priceless. Our hope is they will assist in some small way to offer a ladder out of poverty for the children.
The next couple of days will see the groups complete their sessions and have to say an emotional goodbye to the children, before moving on to their next projects on Sunday.
The bond between this special collection of individuals is already very strong as they share this life changing experience and it’s heartwarming to witness the impact on each and every one of them.
They are flying the flag for both the Club and the Foundation and they are doing us proud. To support the efforts of the volunteers, you can make a donation HERE