Officials from United Kingdom (UK) charity organisation KitAid are in the country to donate kits to local teams.
The team, led by founder Derrick Williams MBE, arrived on Saturday and is being hosted by Mulanje based charity organisation, Friends of Mulanje Orphans (FOMO).
KitAid which was founded in 1998 collects football kits from teams in the UK which they donate to several countries across the world.
Some of the notable clubs they work with are Premier League giants Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Watford.
Former England manager Graham Taylor was KitAid’s patron until his death last year.
FOMO have for five years now, been partners of KitAid and this remains the sole reason that genuine premiership replica jerseys, scarves and other equipment are common among teams in Mulanje district and surrounding areas.
On Sunday, FOMO organised a football Bonanza at Chitakale ground involving teams from its centres, and a team of Liverpool supporters from Blantyre, as one way of celebrating the coming of KitAid officials in the country.
Speaking during the event, Williams expressed delight to for the first time lead his team to Malawi to meet the direct beneficiaries of their donations.
“FOMO officials usually come to the UK where we make kit presentations, but for the first time they have hosted us here and this is fantastic. It’s absolutely moving to see the teams all wearing the kits that we donated, and also to see the children in some of their older shirts which don’t make up a full team.
“It’s brilliant to see all this on the ground. This is what makes all the difficult work we have to contend with worthwhile,” said Williams who is also a member of the Watford Community Trust a charity arm of Watford Football Club.
Williams further highlighted that a football kit offers people a chance to belong to a particular grouping where they learn a lot in life.
“With a proper kit, there is a sense of belonging to a team, where people learn to live as a family and observe some rules and discipline,” he said.
In her remarks, Chair of the trustees for FOMO UK Gillian Coxhead said the coming of KitAid to Malawi will further strengthen their partnership.
“We have met in the UK packing things, but it’s really wonderful to have them (KitAid) here on the ground where they can see for themselves the impact of their donations on the community here in Mulanje. We believe this meeting will enhance our partnership as they will go back to share the story with the clubs who give them the kits about this beautiful community of Mulanje and how we can continue to help each other here,” said Coxhead.
FOMO has fourteen orphanage centres in Mulanje where among other important things, sports is an area of focus.
Besides having a football league among the centres, the organisation also has a football team which competes in the second – tier of Malawi football.
FOMO has not kept the KitAid donations to themselves, but has also made donations to other teams within the district notably those playing in the country’s official youth league, the FMB Under 20 in Mulanje.