Cromer mother and daughter team help launch Malawi charity “Friends of the Future”

A north Norfolk mum and her eight-year-old daughter have returned from a six-week trip to Africa to launch their charity and help vulnerable people there.

Liz Phiri, 42, of Summerhouse Close, Cromer, has set up Friends of the Future with help from professionals in Malawi, to bring much-needed supplies to people affected by poverty and sickness.

This is a cause close to her heart as her daughter Jasmin, a Cromer Junior School pupil, was born in Malawi so has seen first hand how children are suffering in the south-east African country.

The field study instructor first went to Malawi on a back-packing travelling adventure in 1999 and said she 'fell in love with the place'.

'It was full of hope but with no hope,' she added.


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'Friends of the Future wants to fill the gaps, create a safety net and catch children before they fall.'

With help from Elsie Kumwenda, a retired social worker, Chigawa Harawa, Dr Malanda and sister Mtunda, they have together set up the charity.

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Mrs Phiri said: 'Elsie is there to listen to people and give them comfort and basic emergency supplies.

'She meets every walk of life –abandoned babies, malnourished children, a patient who has no one to feed them, a person without any clothes to put on – that is where Friends of the Future comes in.'

With funding support from her employer, Aylmerton Field Study Centre, Mrs Phiri hopes to visit Malawi on a regular basis and will be returning in April with the centre's director Anthony Marett.

'We are going out to Malawi to look at what we are doing, how we can move forward and of course to fund-raise on our return,' she added.

'All of this will be funded by ourselves. We hope for bigger and better things and to lift people out of a desperate situation when they are at their most vulnerable.'

There are also plans for Mr Marett to do a sponsored walk from Lands End to John o' Groats.

Jasmin, who left Malawi when she was a month old, said her first return visit to the country was 'interesting.' 'It was just really different to what life is like over here,' she said.

Friends of the Future is a Malawi charity in partnership with Aylmerton Field Study Centre.

For further information or to support the charity, please visit the website Facebook and log-on and search for 'Friends of the Future' under pages. You can also follow them on social media site twitter @FOTF_2011.

• Scroll to the top right hand corner of the webpage to view a photo gallery of the Phiri's Malawi trip.

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