Innovation has been at the heart of The Sparkle Foundation since Covid-19 turned the world upside down.
With children likely to bear the brunt of the pandemic’s impact, whether through missing out on life-saving vaccinations, increased risk of violence, or interrupted education, Sparkle was forced to think on its feet to ensure its services continued.
From home schooling, to distributing monthly care packages to vulnerable households, to fitting handwashing facilities in 17 villages, to expanding its medical services, the Sparkle team worked around the clock to keep their programmes operating.
Recognised in the top seven small charities in the UK for its response to COVID-19, Mwayi Mpinganjira, Country Director of Sparkle Malawi said; “This has been an extremely testing time for us as an organisation. We had to close our campus which meant closing the gates on our children, but we were determined that if they couldn’t come to us, we would do everything in our power to safely go to them.
“We were delighted to see our work recognised and while charities around us having struggled to get through this period, through innovation and building on our foundations, the charity has grown from strength to strength during this difficult period. We are excited to see what the future holds.”
With 40% of small charities in the UK expected to close by the end of 2021 due to lack of funds, Sparkle too has been impacted by the loss of donations, however following an extremely successful year in 2019 and a healthy reserves policy, the charity will be able to survive during this difficult time.
Capitalising on the UK furlough scheme, Sparkle received an influx of volunteers which enabled the charity to build on its foundations with over 500 hours a month of pro-bono work donated from 12 different industries.
“For many businesses it was sink or swim when the pandemic hit,” Sarah Brook, CEO and Founder said, “I knew as an organisation we had to look at what we could do, rather than what we couldn’t. For all the challenges that we have faced, the positives have outweighed these.”
“Through technology we are now connected with the team in Malawi more than ever before. We have volunteers and employees working around the world all for same the goal, to make a difference. We have managed to get all of our internal processes and procedures up and running during this period due to the resources we had available, which previously would have taken years.”
With many children, especially those in the poorest households and the poorest parts of the world, risk losing their lives to pneumonia, diarrhoeal diseases, malaria, HIV and other preventable diseases, urgent action is needed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and by working with partners and the government that is exactly what Sparkle is trying to achieve.
As of March 2021, we have welcomed our children back into school and Malawi has introduced its vaccination programme. Finally, although we say this quietly, we seem to have turned a corner in the fight with Covid-19.