Mark RussellAfter 11 years of working at FCL, one of our valued accountants Mark Russell, is leaving to volunteer full time with his wife Laura in Malawi. We caught up with Mark to find out more.

Q: Why have you chosen Malawi?

We love Malawi (South East Africa) and have been visiting annually on short term trips to volunteer and support a small charity working in a rural location for the last 7 years. We’ve decided to take the plunge and are selling our house, leaving our jobs here in the UK and are working towards moving out there in March 2016.

Malawi is, according to the World Bank, the financially poorest country in the world.

Q: Are you going to be volunteering for a particular project out there?

Malawi CharityEach year Laura and I have visited Malawi volunteering on a project called the Dalitso Trust and we have decided to volunteer for this cause full time. In a nutshell the Trust has three main functions. The first is community health care training where their team deliver vital basic training to the nearby rural communities. The second element of their work is a nursery setting where the Malawian staff work with local mums and under 5’s promoting interaction and play which is vital to child development but sadly not a high priority within the Malawian culture. And finally they deliver leadership training to local church leaders who are key people within Malawian culture.

As well as continuing to support this work we are also in the process of identifying further projects where we can volunteer and use our skills and knowledge to equip, empower and support Malawians.

Q: Sounds incredibly rewarding but how will you manage to get by financially?

As we are volunteering out there as opposed to earning a living, we have been overwhelmed with the generosity of friends and family who are keen to sponsor us to enable us to be able to live out there and work in a voluntary capacity.

We have a just giving page set up so if anyone feels they would like to make a donation to our living costs in order to be able to do this work we would be honoured and extremely grateful that you’d partner with the work we are going to be doing over there.

For more about the Dalitso Trust please visit the website www.dalitsotrust.org

And if you would like to contribute please visit Mark’s Just Giving page.

The Dalitso Trust exists to teach and equip rural Malawians so that they are empowered to lift themselves and each other out of poverty. Through personal relationships that inspire faith the Trust seeks to build capacity in such areas as holistic health, parenting skills, under 6 educational play and church leadership.

Facts & Figures about Malawi

Malawi MapCountry: The Republic of Malawi

Population: 15.4 million (UN, 2011 estimate)

Capital: Lilongwe

Area: 118,484 sq km (45,747 sq miles)

Main languages: English (official), Chichewa

Main religions: Christianity, Islam

Life expectancy: 58 (WHO, 2011)

Literacy rate: Adult [15+] 75%, Youth [15-24] 87% (UNESCO, 2010)

Urban population (% of total): 15.8% (UN, 2012)

Population under 18 years: 8.1 million (UNICEF, 2011)

Child mortality: 83 children in every 1,000 likely to die before 5 years (WHO, 2011)

Child nutrition: 13.8% of children below 5 years underweight (WHO, 2012)

Number of children (0-17) who have lost one/both parents: 1 million (UNICEF, 2011)