Norfolk-based pastor creates refuge in Malawi
Anne Simpson, a Pentecostal pastor living in Thrigby on the Norfolk Broads, had a vision two years ago for creating a refuge for women and children in Malawi. She is now seeing it turn into a reality.
Anne, who is currently based at East Gate Ministries in east Norfolk, has been visiting Africa for the past 10 years. During those years she has seen first-hand the poverty and struggles that the people in Africa face on a daily basis.
One of the greatest needs that Anne began to see was in Malawi, where there was a need for a safe place for women and their children who had been abused or abandoned. Many women have experienced domestic violence in a country where it is still common in the rural villages for men to have more than one wife.
At the end of 2018 the Lord laid on her heart to buy land in Chitipa, in the dusty north of Malawi, with a vision to build a women's refuge. Kingdom City Refuge would be a beacon of hope for the most vulnerable in African society. It would be a place to train women escaping from domestic violence, or those who have been abandoned by their husbands and family.
Slowly, with the help of generous donations, a building is slowly rising. Anne also found a house to rent that would begin housing the women on a temporary basis until the refuge is completed.
At the moment 10 young ladies are being accommodated and there are plans to house many more as finances allow. The need in Malawi is so great and the land is big enough for great expansion. There is also a vision for a Bible school and mission house as well as a wedding dress business.
Anne says: "The vision is not only to give the women a safe place to stay but also to train them with life skills for starting small businesses to sustain them in the future.”
Anne began appealing for sewing machines so the ladies could begin learning tailoring and have a small business of making or altering clothes. In June 2019 a container was sent to Malawi with sewing machines and other essential items for the refuge. The people in Chitipa were delighted with the sewing machines and the women have begun learning to sew. The ability to earn a living significantly reduces the risk of women being abused in the future. Anyone who would like to donate a sewing machine can get in touch with the project.
Anne has also become aware of the frequent abuse of children, and one such incident highlights this.
"A 4-year-old boy was severely burnt by his stepfather,” says Anne, “who placed his hands directly on a charcoal fire as a punishment for taking food that was being saved for the family’s lunch. The boy was hungry because he was not given any breakfast.
“Such incidents of abuse are very common in some areas of Malawi. The refuge wants to be able to offer assistance to such children and their mothers. There is a need to pay for medical bills following injury and taking people to a place of safety. There is also a need to raise public awareness of some of these things that are taking place and for proper parenting skills to be taught, especially in the rural villages. People need counselling and prayer ministry. Please pray for this project and consider how you might be able to get involved."
Donations towards the refuge can be made payable to "Overseas Missions" and sent to Mill Cottages, Mill Road, Thrigby, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, NR29 3DY
As restrictions lift Anne will also be available to come and speak about the project in your church or ministry. Anyone interested can contact her by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured above are Anne Simpson and the women's refuge in Malawi