Blantyre drinking joint Newz Café Manja put their ‘drinking rounds’ aside to raise about K1.2 million to help Cyclone Freddy survivors which has claimed more than 300 lives and displaced more than 30,00 people in the southern region of the country.
The patrons were jolted into action after some members shared video clips and pictures of the victims and survivors of the cyclone living in bad conditions in various camps on the pub’s WhatsApp forum.
Chairman of the Newz Café Manja patrons Higger Mkandawire said the Newz Café pub is like a family and they have been helping patrons in times of happiness and sorrow.
“At first, as patrons we were helping each other in terms of weddings, birthdays and funerals but when these pictures of victims started coming we thought that we should open our arms and help the survivors.”
“What surprised me was that apart from patrons buying each other rounds of drinks, they also supported this cause with huge amounts of contributions, others contributing as high as K100,000. In the end we managed to raise about K1.2 million within two days of contributions,” said Mkandawire.
The patrons purchased maize flour which was distributed yesterday in three camps in Machinjiri, Bangwe and Kapeni and will distribute other items in Lunzu tomorrow, according to Mkandawire.
“Since we are based in Manja Township, we thought we should use the different expertise of our patrons to help at the Manja Evacuation Camp. We had one of our patrons Ipyana ‘Biggie’ Mwagomba, who is a professional Chef, cooking for the people at the camp and we provided items like cooking oil, vegetables and other items to help him and others who were preparing food for the survivors up until the night,” said Mkandawire.
Most of the patrons joined ‘Biggie’ at the centre to cheer him up and encourage him whole helping in other chores to help the survivors.
“Gentomeni the situation at Manja camp is bad, if some of you can come and help us it will be much appreciated, we cooked until midnight and some of the people I was cooking with are very tired, please Gentomeni it’s a critical situation,” wrote ‘Biggie’ on the Newz Face WhatsApp group.
It was at this moment when many patrons contributed more and others visited ‘Biggie’ at Manja Camp to render their support.
President Lazarus Chakwera declared a State of Disaster for the southern region on March 13, 2023 and called for support both local and international and many people have been offering their individual and organization support to the survivors of the cyclone.