The Kwenderana Partnership Group signed a covenant — a promise of friendship between congregations in East Renfrewshire and Malawi — five years ago.
The group — which celebrated its fifth anniversary on Saturday — is made up of the congregations of Busby, Giffnock South, Greenbank and Williamwood churches and has a special relationship with the Ekwendi congregation and surrounding prayer houses in northern Malawi.
The congregations works towards helping the Ekwendi community out of poverty and solidifying friendships.
Maureen Potter, secretary for the Kwenderana Group, told The Extra: “The class sizes in Ekwendi were horrendous — there were over 100 pupils in each classroom and the children were three to a desk.We thought, how can we help that?”
The group set to work funding more teachers, building a three bedroom teacher house and a two classroom block.
In Malawi, primary education is free, but secondary school education is not.
“It costs between £50 to £120 for each year. It isn’t a massive financial burden if you can afford it, but many in Ekwendi are caring for not only their own children, but orphaned nieces and nephews,” Maureen explained.
The group has funded and provided secondary education for 42 children, and sent over 2,000 boxes of clothing and household goods.
But it isn’t a one sided partnership, as the Ekwendi community give back and support the southside congregations in their own way.
Maureen added: “The community gives back to us with spiritual support. If someone in our community is grieving, its uplifting to hear that people are praying for you on the other side of the world.”
The group are keen to involve the community in the project, with students from Williamwood High raising funds and visiting Malawi in June.
Maureen continued: “We would love people outhwith the church to get involved. We’ve had local companies donate school uniforms to send over, and it all helps.”