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Garden party in Rhode-Saint-Genèse on 8 June to raise funds for Malawi wellness centre

20:42 23/05/2024

The Residence of the Ambassador of Malawi to Belgium and the EU hosts a charity Garden Party in Rhode-Saint-Genèse/Sint-Genesius-Rode on 8 June, from 14.00 to 17.00.

With a team of dedicated helpers, Brussels resident of more than 30 years and ex-European Commission official Sue Bird is organising the event to raise funds for the Songani Hope and Wellness Centre for HIV testing and counselling in Malawi. 

The centre is Sue’s “baby”. After after many conversations between 2016 and 2018, she came across her now partner charity Mbedza. As part of their mission to reduce poverty in Malawi, they were hosting an HIV testing and counselling service in an area of southern Malawi where HIV/AIDS is still a significant challenge.

Sue’s vocation was to finance a building – and Mbedza were looking for a new centre to advance their HIV work. The two were a perfect match. The building was built and became operational in April 2019. Sue is one of Mbedza’s associate directors and she oversees the work of the centre. This year is its fifth anniversary and the Garden Party is one way of celebrating the project.

The centre runs related projects in addition to its work on HIV:

  • Protection of women’s sexual health: Supply of washable sanitary kits free-of-charge to young women, enabling them to regain their dignity and to strengthen their participation in education.
  • Empowering young people: Supply of leadership training to young people (the Hope Ambassadors) through dance, song, theatre and poetry enabling them to take a message to their peers warning about the dangers of HIV.
  • Supplying educational supplements: Access to a library, laptop lessons, and a kids corner.
  • Providing a welcome for the local community: Provision of sports and games for anyone wishing to visit the Centre, and so that Centre staff can get to know them.

It current priorities for funding are the sanitary project and the Hope Ambassadors.

Joining the Garden Party on 8 June are Peatry Ntodwa (Malawi Director, Mbedza) and Nina Gunde (Malawi Deputy-Director, Mbedza), who will be talking about their work at the Songani Centre.

There will be stands selling Malawian and European food, Malawian crafts, second-hand books and a tombola, and entertainment includes music and kids’ activities. All proceeds go to the centre in Malawi.

Entrance tickets and food and tombola tickets here.

Written by The Bulletin