Devastating images of mums and babies being found dead at the side of the road prompted an Irvine church member to launch a campaign to provide vital health care in Malawi.

Ian Young from Fullarton Church is teaming up with other members of the congregation in his bid to set up a clinic and accommodation for a clinical officer in the little-known village of Kanyanda.

He said: “Half the population of Malawi is under 18.

“You hear the situation of a girl in her teens, whose time has come, and she is struggling, looking for help and she goes for help and on several occasions people have found a mother and child dead in the field.

“Many are left to their own devices as a lot of their parents have died through HIV – it’s the loss of a parental generation. This shouldn’t be happening.”

Retired engineer and dad-of-three Ian has become involved in the project through long-time connections with Alex Mndala, a now-retired Anglican priest.

He said: “We have had a long-standing friendship and met in the  90s when he  was here for a conference in Dundee.

“I then went out to Malawi after being invited to his son’s wedding but his son had a car accident  and the wedding didn’t happen.

"I have been four times to various locations in Malawi.

“Alex asked for support to put a tin roof in his church in late 1990s after the government  decreed that no public building could have a  thatched roof, it needed a tin roof.

"He got to know people in Kanynda  as people were travelling  to his church, travelling by bicycle or on foot for a couple of hours. He then started visiting them.”

Irvine Times:  Fullarton Church are  raising funds for a new clinic here in Kanyanda,

Around a decade ago, Ian was first introduced to Kanyanda - and was shocked by what he saw.

He said:  “When I first went there, Alex said it was really poor. The people had nothing and needed help. Through my business I helped sponsor Malawian kids to go to secondary school.

“They sent out a clinical officer once a fortnight  to look after the people there. Then, the health ministry officials, Alex, the local authority and village head men got together and they said if the community could get the clinic built, then they could provide a clinical officer.

“People wanted maternity care as well as general care.

“Hopefully by 2024 we will have the clinical building and accommodation for staff.

"So far, £18,000 has been raised. Putting a roof on would be another £8,000, and we can complete it for about £30,000.

“Then the accommodation is another £20,000. 

"This is not a personal legacy project, I have been called to do this through my Christian faith.”

Two major fund-raisers are being planned by the church.

On Saturday, April 15, a family fun day is being staged in Fullarton Connexions, featuring a bouncy castle and games.

Then, on Friday, June 30, a 24-hour sponsored games night, featuring badminton and a host of other sports is being held, also at Connexions.

Ian said: “This is an opportunity to make a real difference in the community here and in Malawi.

"The family fun day gets people together to play and use it as a fundraiser.

"There are huge resources in the church and this is something we should unite around. It should be a can-do, let’s do thing.

“We would welcome donations, no matter how small, everything helps. This is something we should unite around. I also want to build awareness and have a dream of community links across Scotland and Malawi.

“With better technology, that becomes more practical than in the 90s. We could link school to school and church to church.”

Anyone who would like to help with the Kanyanda project should contact Ian Young by emailing