WHEAMS Pre-School Feeding Program

The Pre-school education and nutrition program in Thukutha Village was intitiated in July 2011.  Over the passing of time, this programme has been the most sustainable and impactful to the community.  Despite numerous challenges, our partner in Malawi (WHEAMS) has continue to help 31 households and their social networks to help put food on their table.  In the period of January to March 2018, the registered number of children receiving nutritious porridge has been 95, which is a drop from numbers higher than 110!  Our partners report that there have been times when the numbers exceeded 110 pre-school children, something that they viewed as unsustainable numbers.  The drop has been encouraging, as families have been increasingly able to feed their own children at home.

A significant challenge to maintaining a sustainable number of children in the programme is that once the children “Graduate” to government funded primary schools, a considerable number continue to come to the programme to get the nutritious breakfast. In addition, the quality of basic education being offered continued to surpass that of public and private schools around the area. If it were not for the number of teachers (3) we could have bowed to outside pressure to allow children from outside the village to be enrolled.

In March 2018, the District Education Manager was invited as a guest of honour and spoke highly of the quality of education being offered by WHEAMS. He was quoted as to say: “… what I have seen and heard about your education is testimony enough that WHEAMS has surpassed the set educational standards by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology… you are assured of Government support through my office for any issues to do with policy and legislature, especially when you desire to develop into a fully-fledged primary school, something all of us in government are looking forward to …”

This report shows the importance of linking good nutrition to sustainable education practices!  If children are not able to attend school with a full belly, it creates a challenge to learning!  WHI are encouraged by this report, and are excited to see the clear link between health and education.


Empowering Stories and Book Night

On March 10th, Warm Heart Initiatives gathered together with friends to have an evening of Empowering Stories and Book sales. It was hosted in Squamish, that the ledge Coffee shop.  Our story tellers, Miguel, Ian, and Amelia spoke incredibly well, and taught us incredible insights about how they view “Global Citizenship,” as well as how their experiences have influenced their perspectives. While I did not expect that every story would be about the continent of Africa, it was incredible how the stories came together.  Hearing three perspectives grounded us in different manners of engaging in community & expanding our world view.  I really like how the stories ranged from short-term crises relief, to long term engagement, to African’s creating change in their own community.

Following the stories, our audience engaged us with questions ranging from “If we don’t have time to spend abroad, how can we be global citizens?” to “what do we do with the slippery slope of empathy?”  The questions were thought provoking and interesting.
The videos of Miguel, Ian, and Amelia, as well as some of the questions asked at the end of the evening will be posted in the coming weeks on the Warm Heart Initiatives webpage.  Please take time to share these stories and use them to initiate conversation with your friends and family.
At the end of the day, events like this both bring us together and build roots to community.  However, the work continues if people continue to come together.  In the fall, WHI will be hosting an information night and a silent auction fundraiser.  However, between now and then, I would love to engage in evenings/dinners that bring us together to speak about partnership activities or initiatives that make a difference in the world.

What does it mean to be a “Global Citizen?”

I encourage you to think about that… what are examples that display global citizenship?

Every once and a while, the world comes together to celebrate a large event. In the past two weeks, the Olympics shed light on the opportunities that exist for this to happen.  While controversy always exists, I find that it is the small stories that hit home.  Did you hear about the women with Nigerian heritage forming the first sledding team?  They may have come last, but they stood up to be examples for girls to see what is possible. Did you hear about Chloe Kim?  The Daughter of a Korean Immigrant, who is the youngest woman to land back-to-back 1080s (that is 3 full rotations!) in international competition. How about Korean Athletes inspiring youth?  While the Olympics may not always be an example of how to reduce poverty in your neighbourhood, they are an example of what can inspire young people to greater things! For two weeks, every 2 years, the world comes together to celebrate hard work.

Global citizen… do the Olympics reflect that?  The Global Citizen initiatives says that a “global citizen” is someone who identifies with being part of an emerging world community, and whose actions contribute to building this community’s values and actions. Does that resonate with you? 

For me, being a global citizen is about social change: opening your eye to your community to see how people move, how social situations impact well-being, and taking action on the small things that matter most.  For me, it’s about looking at your own context as well as looking internationally, to figure out how to impact change.  For me, it’s about shared capacity building, and learning:  what do people of other cultures, other social groups, or other experiences have to teach me?  What can I do to partner with them?

As such, we are excited to announce our first annual Story and Book Night!  On March 10th, join us at the Ledge Coffee Shop in Squamish to hear 4 Squamish residents tell a short personal story about how they have been empowered, equipped or encouraged to be global citizens.  Tickets are 10$ for an adult, and 5$ for a youth.   If you have any questions, please contact Amelia at 778-628-1909

Let me present our first three story tellers:

Amelia Birch is a board member and co-founder of Warm Heart Initiatives. After travelling to Sub-Saharan Africa 3 times in her late teens and early 20’s, she studied Global Health in Nursing during her time at McGill University. Amelia will share an story that has empowered her to recognize the power of being present & being a witness to global health partner’s lives.

Miguel Chiau is a Quest University student, and Mastercard Foundation Scholar in the Program at African Leadership Academy (ALA). He spoke at the Walrus Talks in Ottawa in September 2017, and will also sharing an personal story at our evening!

Ian MacKay is a nurse from Squamish who has spent time in both South America and Iraq, doing clinical work with an organization called Samaritan’s Purse. Ian will share about equipping for clinical services in crises areas.

Fall Update

WHI boothThis is very long overdue, but not forgotten. 

Back in July, we had the opportunity to present Warm Heart Initiatives in a booth at thier “Outreach Sunday.” It was such a pleasure to share with the members of the church the vision that WHI has to create partnerships to end poverty.   It was also interesting to hear and learn of other projects they support: the St James Music Academy is a music school for inner-city children.  PWRDF is the Anglican Church’s response for emergency relief, refugees, development and justice.  The Street Outreach offers pastoral services for residents of the DTES.  Even though we all have different ways of approaching similar goals, these are just some examples of small ways to make a difference to end poverty.  We can all learn from one another. 

WHI is a small group of folks doing about something about poverty… but believe that the partnership that we have created in Malawi is strong.  We cannot maintain it without strong partnerships here at home. In November we hope to have a story telling night in Squamish, to explore how local folks have engaged in global citizenship.  It would be lovely to have to join us!   We have also just started to build a relationship with a young woman from North Vancouver, in which we are mentoring in a project to learn about both opportunities in medicine, and health issues facing indigenous youth in Canada. We look forward in getting to know her, and learning with her in the journey of “global citizenship” right here in the lower mainland. 

If You are looking to hear more about how you can be kept updated, please feel free to email or call at any time! I am more than happy to talk more about WHI at any time. We have been quiet this year, but continue to be requiring donations to meet our budget goal of 6000$ for the year. We are only about 1/3 of the way so far this year.  Would you consider assisting us in our goal?  Please be in touch if you are interested in hearing more: the easiest way to donate is through paypal.

Keep you eyes here for the announcement for the November event!!!