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A charity which has supported over 1,500 children through nursery education in Malawi is celebrating its five year anniversary.

Marking the occasion across two continents, charity founders Paula and Stuart Glegg are holding a celebratory ceilidh to thank fundraisers for their continued support.

The Edinburgh couple set up the Nansato Nursery Trust in 2004 following Paula’s seven-month teaching post in Malawi. During this time, she grew to love the country but was saddened to see lots of young children walking around the village with very little to do.

Once back on Scottish soil, Paula and Stuart began raising funds to help realise their shared vision of building a nursery. Friends and family supported the cause through activities such as marathon running, sponsored bike rides, baking stalls and variety shows.

After making the trip to Malawi and spending two months getting to know the area, they decided it would be more effective to build four smaller nurseries instead of one big nursery and make it easier for children to travel on foot to the schools.

Stuart said: “Something that has amazed us throughout this process has been the support from individuals, schools, churches and clubs.

“It has been overwhelming how generous people have been towards the project and we’re constantly opening letters with donations from people who have read about the project or seen an article somewhere.

“This support has been so fundamental to the project, it just couldn’t have happened without it.”

After spending seven months in Malawi and watching the first intake of pupils walk through the nursery doors, the couple have watched the project blossom.

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Paula said: “There is currently no nursery care provided by the Malawian government so it has been a real privilege to see the nurseries grow from an idea in a coffee shop to four bustling nurseries that exist today.

“It is so wonderful to see that it is working and that children are being provided with good education, with days full of fun and laughter.”

Amazed by the stories they encountered during their latest visit to Malawi in January, they decided that the five year anniversary would be the perfect milestone to share the success of the project among those who have supported the Trust over the years.

Paula said: “It is important to us to have a celebration because we want to show how grateful we are to all those who have supported the nurseries. We want to share all the successes with them.

“A milestone such as this allows you to stand back and take a long look at how it is all working and see how very blessed we have been and what a huge success it is.

“The money we receive has allowed us to build, run, staff, stock and maintain four nurseries for five years. It is truly unbelievable. The nurseries are supported by so many people from so many different situations, and every penny has been so valuable and means so much to us.”

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While supporters of the charity mark the occasion with a traditional Scottish dance, the Nansato Nursery Trust teachers and committee members will have their own little shindig, Malawi style, to toast the Nansato Nursery Trust.

Stuart said: “We wanted a celebration to take place in Malawi too because the success of this charity is totally down to the amazing staff and committees in Malawi.

“Each school is looked after by a group of locals who help to run registration and look after the building. I think Malawians know Malawi much better than we do so we would much rather they made the decisions.

“Many of these people have been with the charity from the very start and many of the achievements are down to their efforts. So it was only fitting that they were able to celebrate in this achievement too.”

*Article about Nansato Nursery Trust on STV on 28th March, 2012.*