Thondwe Community Forum, Malawi is a movement set up in 2016 to build on existing links between the Innerleithen, Walkerburn and Traquair church congregation and the Thondwe congregation which were established in 2008.

SCOTLAND’S links with Malawi date back to 1859 and the travels of Scottish explorer Dr David Livingstone, writes Denis Robson.

Our modern twinning programme goes beyond charitable opportunities and aims to create a unique mind broadening experience of cultural, social, and educational exchanges that foster closer links and mutual understanding.

Annual exchange visits sustain the partnership, encouraging cultural awareness and building friendships.

The partnership began with a visit to Scotland by Rev Picklen Chafulumira in October 2016 and joint planned activities with their twinning committee will run until end 2020.

It is supported by local businesses, schools and community groups who promote awareness raising and undertake fundraising efforts that have enabled real change in the Thondwe community.

A key feature of our joint mission is the economic empowerment of women and the promotion of environmentally friendly business activities.

Together we are establishing hairdressing, café and craft businesses, run by women, which allows them to earn their own money, to support themselves and their families and feel more valued in society.

We have successfully introduced a small holder farmer to a foot pump irrigation system to significantly increase crop yields that will assist limit the impact of climate change in a country hard-hit by food shortages and natural disasters.

We pride ourselves on our accountability to our stakeholders with donations going directly towards the projects donors wish to support.

It is equally important to note that our Malawian friends have on every occasion made a financial contribution as their means can tolerate, providing the foundation for the projects.

We believe in partnering for impact, with measurements to demonstrate results.

We invite you to support the provision of teaching resources at Thondwe school by joining us for a St Andrew’s night family party at St Ronan’s school on Saturday, December 2 at 7.30pm. Live band and light supper. Contact (07775821793) for more information.