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Alice Gilbert

Going to Malawi to see the Tilinanu orphanage in Lilongwe has been on the top of both mine and Lilly’s list for a long time. Alice Pulford along with Nina Pulford and Lizzie Davies are an inspiration to us all, with the help of good willed locals and eager volunteers they have established an organisation truly dedicated to not only helping the community but to helping the community help themselves. Love support unite has many projects in the community supporting sustainable aid.

Whilst in Lilongwe Lilly and I stayed at Mabuya camp where the atmosphere was both relaxed and friendly. We felt welcome instantly! After dropping our thing there, we wasted no time and went to visit the orphanage. It was amazing, they had clearly gone out of their way to give the place character and as a result Tilinanu was more of a home for these girls than an orphanage.

On arrival the girls sang us a song welcoming us to Tilinanu, this was enough to bring tears to our eyes. We spent the following days with the girls, and quickly we started to get to know their personalities and individual quirks. With the older girls we worked on a project ‘what it is like to be a child of Africa’ in which we encourage them to think about, not only what they wanted to be but how they were going to go about it and what obstacles might get in their way. With the younger girls we taught song and dance, helping them to prepare for the Lake of the Stars where they will be performing this summer.

I was also lucky enough to meet Fanny, a girl who my family sponsors, she had turned out to be exceptional. Fanny was the smartest girl in her class and stood out in a school of hundreds, as a result she was enrolled in the local private boarding school where she can flourish. Meeting Fanny was the highlight of my trip.

When it came time to leave none of us wanted to say good bye. Lily and I both plan or returning to Malawi next year and would encourage as many people to get involved in this cause as possible. The girls of Tilinanu are wonderful, each one uniquely special.

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