FOMCambridge Business Lounge is proud to support the charity “Friends of Malezi” (FOM) as we have a strong family tie to the cause and are passionate about supporting it.

So often with charities you are never sure where your money is going and for what purpose. With FOM we know exactly where it is going and we see the evidence with every photo and update we receive. Having our own children we can’t imagine them living on the streets, fending for themselves and looking after their younger siblings. Especially when you consider that they’re only 7 or 8 themselves. Mary Makaranga is a truly inspirational woman and Malezi will give these children in Geita, Tanzania, a home – something so many of us take for granted – and security, safety and a chance at a better and healthier future. Visit http://www.friendsofmalezi.org to learn more about the charity, the cause and how to support it. Thank you.

– Nicky and Ed

Please read on to learn about the charity and vision that is “Malezi”…

We would like to tell you about a remarkable Tanzanian lady called Mary Makaranga and how Friends of Malezi came to be founded to help her realise her vision to help local orphaned and vulnerable children. George and Dee Smerdon (Nicky’s parents) and Sallie Hage were inspired to set up FOM, a small UK based charity, in May 2011, having seen Mary’s work, first hand in Geita, a small mining town in Lake Region, Northern Tanzania.

DSCN0220George had been working with Mary who is, not only the co-ordinator of the home based palliative care in Geita, but also co-ordinator for a community children’s programme called Tunzo Wototo – Caring for Children. Dee had been working in a local primary school and, along with Sallie who came to visit them, soon realised what a truly inspirational woman Mary is. Mary has been working with these vulnerable children for the last seven years with a team of local volunteers helping provide them with regular food and shelter as well as access to education and income generation activities. Three years ago she decided that, despite her and the Geita District Council’s efforts to find families for these children, many of who were HIV+ and sleeping rough, there was still an urgent need for an orphanage and children’s centre to provide a safe and secure place where these children can be cared for and nurtured.

“Malezi” is such a place, a farm 15km out of Geita, and was named after the Kiswahali word for those life skills parents would want to pass on to their children. Mary had already put a deposit on the land when FOM offered to raise the remainder needed to secure the land.

At the Inaugural meeting held at Westfield Junior School in St.Ives, Cambridgeshire, we were overwhelmed by the support of friends and family and as a result of which more than enough was raised. FOM received another huge boost when Stuart McCarthy, Westfield Head Teacher, pledged the money for a well on Malezi.

viewerMary has inspired so many others and continues to have wonderful support from well wishers. We were delighted to be joined by our fourth trustee, Alison Counsell FCA, who works closely with Mary on the finances. Whilst we totally understand that many of you reading this will already be commiteed to your own charitable giving, any donation will be so gratefully received. FOM can guarantee it will all go directly to help Mary and her children.

For more information about Malezi and it’s work, visit http://www.friendsofmalezi.org/ or follow on Twitter @FriendsOfMalezi