Following a visit to Malawi in 1998, John Searle senior was appalled by the poverty and the widespread orphan problem in that country. Discussions with the management of Cooler Aid followed and encouraged by the young company’s pledge to donate a substantial contribution from the monthly turnover of the mineral water business, John Senior set up The Lifeline Fund. Although a small family business in its early stages of development, Cooler Aid set an ambitious target for the year 1999. The aim was to contribute £30,000 in the first year. This, in fact, was exceeded! In the years which have followed, donations from Cooler Aid to the Lifeline Fund have increased substantially year on year and to date contributions have exceeded £5,000,000. This contribution has been due to the efficient running of the business and the dedication of the staff, a number of whom have actually used their holidays to visit Malawi and have stayed at the Lifeline Fund Orphan village at Namisu where 500 orphans are cared for, enjoying a nutritious diet, quality clothing, education, healthcare at one of the three clinics built by The Lifeline Fund, and sports facilities. From the village location, these Cooler Aid staff members have toured many of our projects and witnessed first-hand the rescue and care of babies, orphaned at birth, and the distribution of food and blankets to the many hundreds of helpless elderly and infirm who are able to rely on The Lifeline Fund because of the consistent donations the Fund receives from Cooler Aid.
Namisu is just one of 14 centres built by The Lifeline Fund, catering for 2,700 needy children and young people, including a residential centre for handicapped children, with special needs teachers, an occupational therapist and trained physiotherapists Four schools have been built, two primary and two secondary. Our schools are consistently the top schools in their zone and our school at Namalitha in East Zomba has been designated a “model school” by the ministry of education.
More than 1,000 graduates from our Orphan Scholarship Fund have left secondary school and enjoyed the benefits of a college or university education. Others have completed apprenticeships. Teachers, nurses, midwives, medical students, engineers, carpenters, journalists, designers, lecturers, bankers, bricklayers, etc. etc., have been given the opportunity to qualify and prepare for a life they could only have dreamed of. The vast majority of these young people are now usefully employed.
John Searle junior, CEO of Cooleraid, writes: **
As a mineral water company we at Cooler Aid are delighted that scores of deep boreholes have been drilled over a wide area in parched and threatening situations, providing a safe, life enhancing facility to thousands of needy people and bringing to an end the constant threat of deadly water borne disease. The staff and management of Cooler Aid are grateful for their close association with the life changing activities of The Lifeline Fund.
Inspired by our example, and by the effective use of their donations, other groups have joined in support of The Lifeline Fund and we at Cooler Aid are satisfied that our early and continuing commitment to the vision of the work in Malawi has produced hope and wellbeing where there was only the frustration of extreme poverty.
Below is a simple chart which tells its own story, as year on year donations continue to exceed all expectations.
With thanks to our biggest donor, Cooleraid.