Wells for Zoe – Water for Life

Who is Zoe?
Some of the first questions everyone asks about our charity Wells for Zoe is “where did we get the name?” and “who is Zoe?” I tell them about the Canzee pump and about the first morning I met Sue and Richard (the man behind the pump). Zoe, their only daughter, was involved in tragic accident that took her young life. Poignantly, the name Zoe means “life”.
We were so taken by the story that Wells for Zoe could be the only name.
Now we have another link. Sue has published a wonderful book of poems, called Hope Sparkles, which will be available in the next few weeks. All proceeds go to Wells for Zoe Projects.

Zoe’s Mother, Sue
Sue Cansdale grew up in the small country village of Hartburn in Northumberland.
A happy, care-free childhood spent helping on farms with lambing, shearing and hay-making, engendered an awareness of birth, death and regeneration as part of the natural rhythm of life.
She studied for a BA in Graphic Design and travelled the world in her summer vacations before marrying and settling at Lord Wandsworth College in Hampshire with her husband Richard, where their two children were born.
In 1977 the family returned to Sue’s beloved Northumberland where she taught Art at King Edward VI School, Morpeth and indulged her passion for restoring old buildings, while Jamie and Zoë, were growing up. A close and loving family, the death of Zoë in a road accident, aged 22, in 1998 changed all their lives forever. Zoë’s fulfilled wish to be an organ donor brought
comfort and a new focus.
It was only in 2003 while searching for a way forward, that Sue discovered the power of poetry to express her own thoughts.
Hope Sparkles is Sue’s first collection. Sue is a beacon of courage and grace. It’s great to be able to support this work to help an excellent charity.

Zoe now lives in another dimension which is animated in distant areas of Northern Malawi. A song, on our new album to be released in June, written and performed by Karine Polwart, called Dig a little Well for Zoe expresses how this award winning Scottish songwriter feels about where Zoe does her work now.

Donations and Ordering more books

Copies of the following books can be ordered from:
Legacy of Life, The Baker’s Chest, Hartburn,
Morpeth, NE61 4JB
Phone 01670 772214

Hope Sparkles Poems by Sue Cansdale – ISBN-978-0-9553767-1-9 £4.50 or more (P+P £1)
Please make cheques payable to ‘Wells for Zoë’.

Transforming Lives including DVD – a collection of inspirational personal stories by Organ Donor Families, Recipients of Transplants and Medical Professionals working in Transplantation.
Donations of £10 will enable more copies to be printed.(P+P inc.)
Please make cheques payable to ‘Legacy of Life’.

Chinese envoy called Malawians beggars

Recently reported in StoriesonMalawi .
Malawi’s newly established diplomatic relations with China have hit a snag after a Chinese envoy called Malawians beggars – a statement that angered the government. Voice of America English to Africa Service’s Lameck Masina in Blantyre reports that two months after Malawi and China established diplomatic ties, public resentment is brewing towards the Asian economic power. The Chinese envoy to Malawi is quoted as saying his office is tired of too many individuals, non-governmental organizations and government departments thronging its offices with begging bowls. Envoy Fan Guijin allegedly made the remark while talking with reporters.

A local daily newspaper, The Nation, quoted the envoy as saying Malawians should give his office breathing space because China is not the richest country in the world and is not a miracle worker that can assist in every sphere of development. The Chinese envoy also said Malawians should stop relying on donor money because no country has developed with foreign aid.

The remarks did not go down well with Malawians. Government spokesperson Patricia Kaliati told the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation that Guijin has a right to complain but should learn to lodge complaints through proper channels, “If they are finding problems beyond their control, they are supposed to go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and he knows what diplomacy is all about. Yes, the media is part and parcel of government, but he is not supposed to address his problems using the media. I don’t think this is [proper]. And also if the minister of sports went there [to seek funding], it’s not an issue that he should to cite as an example. We have been going in different embassies finding out; can they do this, can they do this; is that an issue that one can raise in the papers?”

Kaliati asked the Chinese envoy to respect Malawi, even though it is poor. “Yes, we are poor in one way or another; they are entitled with due respect to their opinion, but they also got to know that as (the) Malawi government we’ve also got the right to be respected. Though poor, we have resources.”

Malawians also expressed their indignation through public gatherings, local radio phone-in programs and the opinion pages of big newspapers.

Guijin publicly dismissed the reports. He spoke to reporters a few days after his remarks were published. He said, “Reading this report I was shocked. Let me stress the following, we are ready to assist Malawi to the best of our ability. And I believe that there are quite a lot of what we can do here [but] let us concentrate on top priority and then we will move forward step by step. We cannot possibly deal with all problems at the same time. This is what I told [the reporter from The Nation.].”

But the Chinese envoy did acknowledge saying that Malawians should stop relying on donor money. “No country in the world can develop itself through foreign aid. This is a fact. To develop your economy is your job you have to do it yourselves.”

The envoy said he suspects the story was written under the influence of the Taiwanese government. He alleged that Taiwan is sponsoring opposition political parties in Malawi to unseat president Bingu wa Mutharika in the 2009 elections. But the opposition described the statement as rubbish and asked China to stay away from internal politics.

Commentators say the development was a bad start for relations between Malawi and China.

Rafik Hajat is the executive director of the independent Institute for Policy Interaction, a research-driven advocacy group specializing in democratic consolidation and social justice. He told VOA that China is not a friend Malawi can rely upon and trust,“We closed the door on a true friend and we opened the door on perhaps someone who is not a true friend and my question is: What do these people want in Malawi after all these years?”

Malawi established diplomatic relations with China in December 2007, ending 42 years of diplomatic ties with Taiwan. The move was announced in January by Minister of Affairs, Joyce Banda. She told reporters that Malawi had decided to establish ties with China because Malawi would probably gain considerable economic benefits.

China promised to fund some major projects started by Taiwan, such as the construction of a sports stadium

But commentators had warned Malawi in advance to tread carefully with China. They pointed to complaints from citizens of other countries, including Namibia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania and Zambia, saying Chinese traders have flooded the market with cheap goods and pushed out local traders.

In Zambia, one of the African countries with longstanding relations with China, resentment towards Chinese business-people is widespread.

Low-paid Zambian workers employed by Chinese businesses complain of poor working conditions. Earlier this month, the Chinese managers of Chambishi Copper Smelter reinstated about 500 striking workers they had fired for striking and rioting over pay and working conditions. In re-hiring the workers the managers were responding to pressure from the National Union of Allied Workers.

China denies that it mistreats workers or drives small African entrepreneurs out of business. It says it’s trying to provide inexpensive consumer goods that many people could not otherwise afford.

Presentation for Funding

This evening, we made a presentation for funding to the Student’s Union Governing Council of the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). We (Mary and I) were joined by Chris, Liam and Michael, three of the students who made such an impact on the villages where they worked during their two week stay over their easter holidays.
They paid all their own expenses, paid for the school building materials, and we are now discussing projects for the balance of their fund.
Our contribution (W4Z) to poor rural villages can be sumarised in three words: Inspiration, Education and Challenge. The ten students who came ticked all those boxes with distinction.
They inspired the remote rural community in Luvuwu to build a three classroom school block in two weeks. (complete and ready for occupation).
They educated a group of Mzuzu University students and fourth formers about the value of manual work and that even if you are white, well off and well educated, there is a value in working side by side with the poorest, sharing their burden, and showing respect for what they can achieve.
(Building a three classroom school in 2 weeks and did I mention a school garden is some achievement in anyone’s language), but when it’s done by rural people with few tools and little confidence, with the help of some of the softest white hands, boys and girls, it’s nothing short of a miracle.
In Wells for Zoe we believe that Inspiration is more important than charity and we don’t do charity.
Inspiring the villagers and educating the priviliged, gave the us best of both worlds.
The challenge to the villagers was a school and school garden in two weeks and the challenge was met, with honours.
The challenge tonight was to convince the panel, in 5 minutes, as to the worthiness of our project, but we didn’t manage it, but are happy to lose to a very worthy cause. On the plus side Chris, Michael and Liam were concise and confident in relating what they had done and what was achieved and most of all that they had left a community with their dignity intact and with a confidence to tackle the many challenges facing them.
We are very proud to be associated with such a fine and talented group of young people. All ten have made an impact,they have learned and taught and had an educational and enjoyable two weeks in Malawi.
We feel priviliged to be able to bring two such diverse groups together, the advantaged Irish with some of the poorest of the poor, and to have them achieving such a degree of mutual respect.
The real plus for Wells for Zoe would be a continued connection with these students.
I include a few words from Dr John Ryan, Professor of Mathematics at Mzuzu University:
(The youth group, Ungweru, come from St Augustines Parish where he works as a curate. He is a Kilteegan father from Tipperary)

John and Mary
It is already Wednesday so let me put a couple of thoughts down for your presentation tonight.
The recent visit of your youth has really got our group going. I think they learned a lot from one another. Our group here now is very active especially in the sports line at the moment but they also have plenty of plans for community work and I have great hopes for the future of this group. Also among this group we have a couple of students from Mzuzu University and I just know the connection with Mzuzu University is just going to grow more and more.
I learned an amazing thing recently —two of the post graduate students of Mzuzu University use the Ungweru library and study room quite regularly! Its is a further connection with the university and good to get university students and youth at Ungweru interacting more.
I think the possibility of further groups coming from Ireland will keep our group very excited and focused on community work as they too want to be able to relate how they are ‘involved’.
As discussed with you, many of our programmes involve ‘hand-outs’ which in many ways are very necessary with the dire poverty but at the same time such programmes are not sustainable and tend to promote a wrong spirit. Involvement with your group is going to help us to introduce a sustainable element to our programmes.
Best Wishes for tonight.

Driving to Mzuzu. Well!!

The jeeps donated by the Irish Army are finally on their way, after a few false starts. As a result of Logistical and Revenue considerations, we have booked them on a May 5 sailing from Sterness Port in the UK to Dar es Salaam, a trip which takes 35 days, with a planned arrival date of June 10. When they have cleared port they will be driven the 1200km to Mzuzu.
Our final decision to opt for Ro-Ro was made as a result of a meeting with the Irish Ambassador, Liam McGhabann and Brian O’Brian of the Embassy, in Lilongwe on our recent visit.
Of course we will again come into contact with the Malawi Revenue Authority and pay the duty at the Tanzanian border, but that’s all in a day’s work.
First we have to get them to London!
Any assistance or sponsorship would be very welcome at this point.

Blackrock College Outreach 2008

This year, late August, a group of boys from the class of 2008 with some parents will travel to Malawi to work for an organisation called ‘Wells for Zoe’
The boys and parents will fund their own travel costs so every euro raised through fundraising will go directly to the project
Over the next few months there will be many fundraising events. If you can contribute in any way please do.
Thia appears on their site: Blackrock Outreach Project 2008: http://www.astracommunications.ie/outreach/index.html
Should you wish to help in any way, we strongly urge you to do so as all funds raised will help support the poorest of the poor in Northern Malawi.

Holy Family Parish, Kill-of-the-Grange, Dublin.

Found this piece on The Holy Family Parish newsletter of last weekend and was more than a little humbled.
WELLS FOR ZOË’. This church-door collection for alleviation of poverty in the southern-central African country of Malawi will take place on the weekend 12/13th April, facilitated by students from Blackrock College.
A group of 6th year boys from Blackrock College (including two young parishioners of Holy Family Parish) will travel to Malawi after their leaving certificate examinations this summer, to spend two weeks working on projects with Wells for Zoë and the St John of God Services.
Wells for Zoë is a small Irish non-governmental organisation dedicated to the provision of clean safe drinking water and water storage for irrigation in four remote rural areas of Malawi. Set up in 2005, Wells for Zoë now works in over 40 villages and helps some of the poorest people in Africa by supplying clean drinking water. Wells for Zoë concentrates on low cost, small scale, appropriate and sustainable water technology. Wells are hand dug, jetted and fitted with a Canzee hand pump. Its work has since expanded beyond simple wells to include activities as diverse as fish farming, agricultural education and micro-credit facilities.
The trip also involves the construction of an agricultural college and teaching and helping in a St John of God school, the Elvira Institution for mentally and physically challenged children for 4-15 yrs and working with the Umoza Programme for Street Children.
The boys from Blackrock hope to raise €80,000 for the various projects, all of which will go directly and exclusively to the fund. Everybody who is traveling in the group will pay their own travel and accommodation expenses so that all monies generously donated to help this work will go directly to the projects.
They will be collecting outside the church after Mass on the weekend 12/13th April and would be deeply grateful for any contribution to assist them to improve the lives of impoverished people living in South Eastern Africa. The boys would also be absolutely delighted to provide a report of their work and experience on their return.
Wells for Zoë website is http://www.wellsforZoë.org
Wells for Zoë’s aims are to:

  • Establish a competence in well drilling and pump installation;
  • Promote water storage in its many forms, by advising on simple technologies, in association with local Government staff, and providing low cost credit (or grants, when there is no other way forward);
  • facilitate the local manufacture of the pumps, by building and equipping a small factory at SJOG, Mzuzu;
  • Train the local people, men and women, some of whom are clients of St. John of God’s, in the manufacture and maintenance of the pumps;
  • Promote the use of alternative irrigation methods and a better range of crops;
  • Empower people to help themselves, by using sample gardens in lands provided by the Chiefs;
  • Organise all projects within a local village management structure.

Note: – As one who has lived & worked in semi-arid climatic conditions in Eastern Africa for over two decades, I strongly recommend this sustainable development project to your generosity. M.O’Connor, Adm.
The efforts of the Blackrock Boys and the wider school community shows what a real community effort can be. Thank you all JC.

Our Lady’s girls in training for the Women’s Mini Marathon

Rumour has it that the girls in Our Ladys Terenure were spotted at theit first training session this afternoon.
The numbers have reached 38 today. If you can sponsor any of them or run yourself on June 2 we would be most grateful. Every euro can give a person in Malawi water for life.
Remember Flora Womens Mini Marathon: June 2, 2008