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Sanderstead woman moved to Malawi to help charity

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MANY people donate to charity to help starving children struck by poverty, but Sylvia Avgherinos actually took the leap and moved to Malawi to help there.

The 71-year-old, from Sanderstead, moved to Malawi in 1998 when she found out about Joshua Orphan and Community Care, a charity that cares for children and families in the African country.

The charity works in 19 isolated communities in Malawi, and Sylvia has now lived there for 14 years, helping to run feeding centres for 500 children and even setting up a secondary school for children who want further education.

She said: "You don't get much out of it financially but it is very rewarding. The country is beautiful and quite mountainous. When I first went there they had no money, so I returned home and family and friends helped to donate.

"Now we help to feed hundreds of children and have also set up a clinic that helps people with malaria and teaches people about HIV and Aids.

"We have also managed to raise funds to build a bridge over a stream that is very dangerous in the rainy season. This stream meant that the villagers living in the communities were isolated, especially when the rains came. The new bridge means that children can now attend school and the villagers can get medical attention."

But she now only returns to Croydon once or twice a year to see her family, and spends the rest of the time in Malawi helping to expand Joshua.

She said: "Children have to pay for a secondary school education in Malawi so now we have set up a secondary school and we also sponsor students in university and teacher training courses. It is very rewarding. And I like the temperature too! I'll be going back for rainy season soon but at least it's warm.

"Knowing we can get the children at least one meal a day is brilliant. We have had shortages and difficulties but now we have a new president and people are starting to feel better about living here."

To find out more about the charity, visit www.joshuainmalawi.org.uk

Sanderstead woman moved to Malawi to help charity


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