Kenilworth Soroptimists to find out if Malawi project will receive backing

Sharon Maxted with fellow Soroptimists from Malawi
Sharon Maxted with fellow Soroptimists from Malawi

Kenilworth and District Soroptimists will find out if its project to train nurses and reduce child mortality in Malawi will gain wider support from Soroptimists across the country at a conference held in Glasgow from November 4 to 7.

Four Kenilworth members will join over 1,000 delegates at the conference, including HRH Princess Anne.

President of Kenilworth and District Elaine Clarke, along with fellow member Sharon Maxted, will meet with the princess and present the project which is up against two others,

After this, attendees will vote for their favourite out of the three presented.

Elaine said: “I am really looking forward to presenting our project.

“We have done much to with local efforts to support this initiative, but the opportunity to gain wider support would be fantastic.”

Sharon, a pharmacist from Kenilworth, recently travelled to Malawi to visit a hospital and share her expertise with pharmacists in the country.

Pharmacy is a relatively new profession in Malawi, with courses on the subject coming into existence ten years ago. Pharmacists in Malawi tend to focus on supply rather than prescription, something that Mrs Maxted aimed to change.

Additionally, the training of nurses in Malawi is not funded by the country’s government, and as such the money for training comes from charities like Friends of Sick Children in Malawi that Kenilworth Soroptimists support.

After her trip, Mrs Maxted said it did not turn out as she anticipated.

One her blog covering her time in Malawi, she said: “It’s not all doom and gloom in Malawi - just because it’s different doesn’t make it wrong.

“The people I met have shown great ingenuity and inventiveness, coming up with pragmatic solutions that work in very trying circumstances using simple local resources.

“Like all of us, they love people to take an interest and enjoying being praised for what they can do.

“It’s up to us to encourage and support them to achieve more to meet their needs, not give them what we feel is best.”

Princess Anne is set to receive a £4,000 cheque from the Soroptimists at the conference towards the work of charity Save the Children.

Speakers at the conference include Dame Stella Rimington, the first woman to head MI5, Jo Fairley, the founder of the chocolate company Green & Blacks, and Sarah Montague, a BBC broadcaster and journalist.