Following a busy two days of picking up and sorting clothes donations for victims of the Malawi floods as part of the #GetInvolved4Diginity campaign, we today handed over the catch to the Malawi Red Cross. The generosity of Lilongwe’s residents, both local and foreign, netted three large cars full of clothing, shoes, toys, and medical supplies. Donations came from embassies of countries near and far, several international organisations, and a number of unaffiliated individuals. On receiving the donations, the Red Cross representative commented that the goods were particularly warmly received as they were coming from individuals, “people like us”. The organisation is now responsible for delivering the goods to those affected. Most likely, the donations will leave the organisation’s office within the week, and be distributed to affected households in the areas of Nsanje and Chikwawa.
Malawi Floods. Displaced women and children arrive at Sekeni II Camp for flood victims in Chikhwawa District. (Jan. 16, 2015) Photo by Arjan van de Merwe/UNDP licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
The recent floods have taken a devastating toll on Malawi. It is the poorest of the poor that are the hardest hit. Families displaced by the floods have lost everything. And they did not have much to lose to begin with. The emergency response is ongoing, and help is reaching those affected. Reports are however coming back of various challenges linked to the fact that many of the displaced have only one set of clothes which has to be washed and hung to dry overnight.
While significant efforts are going into addressing the overall situation, there’s something easy we can all do, as individuals, to help restore the dignity of those affected: donate unused and unwanted clothes to the victims. The Red Cross has also indicated that there is a need for pots and pans.
We are asking development partners, the diplomatic community, UN agencies and NGOs in Lilongwe to join us in a clothes drive.
Please let us know if your embassy or organization would like to be part of the clothes drive. The clothes will be picked up from your office on Monday 17 February or Tuesday 18 February and delivered to the Red Cross. The Red Cross will ensure transportation to affected areas and those in need.
Please get in touch with Nora Lindstrom if you would like to contribute to this effort. Nora can be reached on 099 336 7559 or email: noralindstrom(at)gmail.com
Please note that the clothes drive is organized as a private initiative and is not a project of the UN or any particular organization.