The Neeburs o’ Geordie Munro are off to Zomba in Malawi

….. well, the strips are!

The Neeburs o’ Geordie Munro were the proud shirt sponsors of Craig Easton’s Youth Development Squad for 2 seasons, culminating in our young heroes being crowned 2017/18 champions of the SPFL League Development East.

Following that season, Rovers dissolved the Youth Development set up integrating promising youngsters into the mainstream squad.  This meant Rovers had no need for their training kit, so in September 2020 Rovers invited the Neeburs to find it a good home.

The amount of kit was substantial – 5 large, full, heavy holdalls! – we had inherited a complete official squad kit (in good/excellent condition) including:

  • 17 navy blue/white full strips (tops, shorts, and socks), inc. goalkeeper.
  • 17 red/white full strips (tops, shorts, and socks), inc. goalkeeper.
  • 30 training sets – each containing a short-sleeved top, jersey, and shorts.
  • 28 hooded navy-blue rain jackets.

The challenge was to find a charitable organisation that could benefit most from the donation.  As it happened – one of the Neeburs, Ally Pilmer, had stayed in Malawi in 2018 undertaking MSc research as part of his Masters’ Degree.  He made many friends and particularly enjoyed his time in the local communities around Zomba.  That insight helped us focus on finding a way to get the kit to a charitable organisation in Zomba.

An internet search found the Scotland Malawi Partnership – a non-profit organisation which coordinates the activities of Scottish individuals and organisations with existing links to Malawi.  We were put in touch with Professor Brian Kelly who was delighted to help us.

Since 2004, with Brian’s help, Glasgow City Council has:

  • Sent 46 shipping containers loaded with medical supplies and equipment.
  • Installed over 3,000 computers in hospitals, clinics, colleges, schools and local authorities.
  • Designed and funded a maternity/teaching clinic in Lilongwe.
  • Provided teaching for the benefit of users in hospitals, clinics and educational establishments (especially Teacher Development Centres).
  • Taught technical staff how to maintain and repair any faults that arise.

Trades teams from City Building (Glasgow), have constructed a clinic for HIV/Aids patients at Chikwawa District Hospital in the south of the country and two clinics, in Lilongwe, for people who require prosthetic/orthotic devices – the latter project was carried out in partnership with the charity “500 miles”.  The team also renovated part of the former Town Hall in Lilongwe to create a clinic for doctors involved in treating people with HIV/Aids.

In recent years, project teams have also become involved in supporting Police Scotland in developing their IT work with Police Malawi. Assistance is also given to the Malawi Prison Service.

With covid travel restrictions lifted on 16th April, it was possible to take the kit through to Glasgow.  Goods shipped in containers to Malawi take around 8/10 weeks.   So, the next shipment going to Malawi will contain the Rovers’ football kit, donated by the Neeburs, which will be shared between the local sports teams in the Zomba community and the Prison Service, based in Zomba.

The Neeburs’ contact in Zomba, Edward (Ed) Maferano, works for AU-SARO (African Union – Southern African Regional Office) as a Community Leader.  His humanitarian work tackles the main issues facing Zomba.  Ed was delighted to be receiving the kit, ‘‘Thank you so much to the Neeburs.  This is amazing.  We have endured hard times with floods, the deforestation affecting water supplies and Covid-19 here in Zomba.  I look forward to receiving the training kit and I will make sure they reach the grassroots as intended.  Perhaps we will have a new youth team called Neeburs here in Zomba.”

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