BLANTYRE (Lameck Masina, VOA) — A renowned gospel singer in Malawi has raised more than $20,000 in donations for the country’s only pediatric cancer ward. Patience Namadingo donated the money to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital during the event Saturday at the hospital in Blantyre.
Music by a Malawi police brass band graced the street march that gospel singer Patience Namadingo and his fans organized before the check presentation ceremony with hospital officials.
The event marked the end of Namadingo’s 40-day campaign known as “Song for a Penny” in which he was performing in people’s homes and work places for $4 a song, per person to meet the needs of the cancer ward.
At the final count, Namadingo raised $21,000. He said this is beyond his expectation.
“This is overwhelming. The feeling is just exciting. You do not see these things happening everyday, maybe in other people’s lives it does not happen at all. So it is a once in life time achievement, so I thank God.”
Initially Namadingo planned to raise $1,700 in 40 days, but he reached his target in just four days after big companies, like the National Bank of Malawi and Telecom Networks Malawi invited him to perform for their workers.
This forced him to increase his target to $7,000. He reached this target six days later.
Namadingo says the response to the initiative has given him motivation to do more charity work.
“This is just the beginning. It has proven that Malawians are warm hearted people. So this is not the only problem Malawi is facing. Malawi is facing a lot of problems. So we are going back on the table and we plan on where is the next solution.”
More than 300 children with cancer seek treatment at the Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital every year.
The ward has just a 25-bed capacity.
Hospital officials say the facility lacks sheets, needles and other supplies.
Linley Chewere, the Deputy Director for the hospital, told VOA the donation will also help meet other pediatric needs.
“The donation will not only assist the cancer ward, but it will extend to other children’s ward. We are planning to rehabilitate the Higher Dependency Unit for children where very sick children are admitted. From there, they move to different wards.”
Namadingo enlivened the occasion with a live performance to fans and well-wishers who patronized the two-hour event.