Faiz Kermani talks to Bookbag about how a blue frog is helping Malawi's vulnerable children to live safe, healthy and happy lives

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Faiz Kermani talks to Bookbag about how a blue frog is helping Malawi's vulnerable children to live safe, healthy and happy lives

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Summary: Every child has a right to medical care
Date: 22 June 2018

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External links: Author's website


How a blue frog is helping Malawi's vulnerable children to live safe, healthy and happy lives

Every child has a right to medical care

The World Medical Fund (WMF) is a small children's medical charity that offers practical life-saving solutions to vulnerable children living in remote areas of Malawi. WMF staff passionately believe that every child has a right to medical care and its small hands on, dust on the boots team, who work closely with the local community, focus on delivering high achievement with low administrative costs. WMF is entirely reliant on donations for its life-saving work, but in today's fast-moving world it can be difficult to attract people's attention for ongoing support.

Since 2003, WMF's mobile health clinics have treated over 280,000 sick children in the Nkhotakota region of Malawi and it was some of these wonderful success stories that inspired me to develop a children's book with the help of the rest of the team. An important consideration was a theme that would go down well with the locals, and so the input of the staff at the clinic in Malawi on the draft outline was invaluable. Launched last year, The Frog Who Was Blue relates the tale how Biriwita the blue frog achieves unlikely success at Croak College, the most famous school for frogs in Malawi.

Blue frog benefits

All the profits from The Frog Who Was Blue go toward the work of WMF and the project has been a new way to achieve publicity for the charity. However, the book also serves an educational role and we have had enthusiastic feedback from children in different countries – including those being supported by other children's charities. Personally, I have had wonderful experiences visiting schools in the UK, France and Switzerland talking about The Frog Who Was Blue and WMF's important work that kickstarted the book idea.

The Frog Who Was Blue has also featured as part of WMF's ongoing work in Malawi. In 2005 antiretroviral medicine became available free of charge in Malawi for everyone infected with the AIDS virus, however, children under 13 years of age were excluded. WMF was determined not to stand by and watch innocent children suffer the painful and undignified death that is the final outcome of AIDS so the charity began its own programme, buying the antiretroviral medicine at an annual cost of $500 per child. But many of the children were orphans and it was difficult to ensure they attended every month for essential ongoing clinical appraisals and the prescription of their medicine. WMF's solution was the Thandizo centre, which is unlike any other medical centre. It is a playground and a sports centre, with games, toys and even a TV. These are diversions for children that simply do not exist in Nkhotakota. Biriwita the blue frog is now an additional friend to help entertain the children, especially to alleviate their boredom when waiting in clinics.

What next for The Frog Who Was Blue?

Recently, the book was translated into French as La grenouille qui était bleue and a Dutch version is being finalised as De kikker die blauw was. We hope to have other translations in the future, and hope that Biriwita the blue frog can continue to help Malawi's children to live safer, healthier and happier lives. Please do visit the WMF website to find out how you can support its life-saving work.

If you are interested in hearing more about Biriwita the blue frog at your school, please get in touch!

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