…to One incredible reality!

Two weeks ago, we sent Elaine Pinkus and three of her students out to Malawi on a Co-Operative Insight Trip.

Elaine, a Business Studies teacher at Bushey Meads School, registered her students in a One Difference (Make your Mark) challenge to suggest and design a product that One Difference could add to its range, the profit from sales of which would support a like-for-like project in Malawi.

Three of Elaine’s students, Taylar Leak, Emmie Rayatt and Deryn Hertz suggested plasters with animal print designs. These could be sold without fear of a short shelf life and would be of use to all households. The profits from their sales would support medical aid in Malawi. One Difference and the Co-Operative were so impressed with the design that they declared the girls winners of the national competition. Their product went into production and was put on sale nationally in The Co-Operative under the name: One Careplast.


One year later, Elaine, Taylar, Deryn and Emmie had the opportunity to visit Malawi to view the bicycle-ambulances funded from the proceeds of One Careplast. Thanks to this product, communities in Malawi will have easy access to basic medical care, improving maternal mortality rates and thousands of lives will be saved.

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Elaine documented parts of her trip along the way:

“We were lucky enough to visit Chikoleka School in Chikoleka village. This is a school with few resources. Classrooms consist of stones, on which the children sit, and perhaps one blackboard. Student numbers range from 100 to 120 in a classroom, with one teacher. Through the sales of One Toilet Tissue and One Liquid Hand-wash, hygienic toilet blocks and hand-washing facilities have been installed, school attendance has risen as a result. Volunteers train the children in personal hygiene and the children are encouraged to share this knowledge with their community. Before the sanitation units were installed, there were only pit latrines sheltered by mud or thatch. This gave rise to dysentery and disease, and the death rate was higher than it is today.

The welcome we received upon arrival was unbelievable. Nearly 2000 children, excited and smiling despite having very little. A salutary lesson for us all.

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At Chimwala school, we saw a water project. We were greeted by the immense throng of near to 2000 students, who welcomed us with their songs. We also met the amazing staff, dealing with a ratio of 1: 120 and few resources. Again, smiles and warmth from all – a humbling experience. The gratitude of the staff and students to One Difference was immense.


Our last visit was to a school feeding programme with Marys Meals, similar projects are funded through the sale of One Porridge. Wow, what a fantastic project. Local mothers work at the local school, preparing the bags or prepared maize to go into huge vats. They work in hot temperatures to ensure that each of the 2000 children at the school have at least a cup of porridge a day. And outside of the kitchen, the children line up, cup in hand, patiently waiting for what is for many of them the only meal they will have that day. Fact: £7 a year is allocated to feeding a child. Emmie, Taylar, Deryn and I took our turn in stirring the huge vats and then serving the children their porridge. We then visited each class as they welcomed us with their prepared speech, which would have taken them weeks to learn. Such wonderful children; such amazing staff.


We have so many wonderful memories from this trip of a lifetime.

Thank you to One Difference and Duncan Goose, to the Co-Operative and Peter Marks.

Thank you to the wonderful children and helpers we met in Malawi.

And thank you to all our students and parents who have supported the project by buying One Careplast at the Co-Op”.