96255 Hope for AIDS Orphan Care Programme – Malawi

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Project Vision: To equip the Africa Evangelical Church (AEC) in Malawi to show God’s love by meeting the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of orphans & vulnerable children, and support their extended families, through a program of community visiting, secondary school scholarships and establishment of an income generating scheme in order to allow the program to work towards becoming self-sustaining and an associated under 5’s day care centre. The aim is to start 5 programs (and day care centres) in 5 different locations over a five-year period.

Orphan Care: bringing smiles

Today Maganizo’s smile (pictured right) reflects his heart is full of joy & hope instead of constant anxiety & despair having been selected in September to receive a HOPE for AIDS scholarship to finish secondary school. His father died in 2009 and his mother does subsistence farming but doesn’t grow enough food and lacks money for basic necessities. Without this scholarship he, like all his 3 older siblings, would fail to finish school and continue to be caught in the cycle of daily hunting for little bits of casual work and surviving in a ‘hand to mouth’ existence.

And it is not only the students themselves who are smiling but also their guardians like Sevelia’s step father who, in desperation, approached the OVC Chilumba volunteers to ask for help.  After Sevelia’s father died, her mother remarried, but the step fathers disability means that Sevelia, together with her 4 siblings, were all still highly vulnerable to poverty and dropping out of school.  as the mother tries to find casual work to survive. Sevelia’s family is able to smile as the HOPE for AIDS scholarship has kept alive the dream that one day they might have a nurse in the family!

There were more smiles at the Muona under-5 day care centre too as new dresses & underwear were distributed thank to the donations from a church in the UK. Some of the happy recipients are pictured with the words meaning ‘The Lord is my shepherd’ on the wall behind which seemed very appropriate.

Prayer requests

Pray for wisdom in discussions with the new AEC leadership about how best to mainstream OVC programs and what OVC interventions to propose to Forgotten Voices.

For the many families facing serious food shortages over the coming year having not harvested anything this year due to the drought conditions.

Progress

Since last reported in October 2015, the Orphan Care project has successfully continued its operations in support of 200 families, 125 secondary school students (including the verifying and adding a new intake for the start of this academic year) and ~240 pre-schoolers across the 5 locations,

The following are special points of note during the last 6 month period:

Phalombe pastoral care follow up training – following the initial training of the pastoral care volunteers last year it was encouraging to meet them in January and hear of the continuing visiting of 10 highly committed volunteers, hear testimonies of how they had become recognised in the community particularly for helping & encouraging those who are sick and see how they had indeed become more aware of the positive influence & hope they can bring to those who are suffering. The HOPE for AIDS HBC and OVC Co-ordinators worked together to facilitate this training however the program has become more HBC focussed as the orphan families visited clearly expressed their expectations of receiving various items which the church volunteers could not meet. However, some topics at the training included grief counselling & how to share spiritual truths in a personal way which could be used with orphans, as well as those who are sick, if the opportunity arises.

Umbrellas – umbrellas were provided to volunteers in all locations over the last few months to provide assistance as they visit during rainy season and as part of maintaining volunteer motivation. 

Shoes – school shoes were provided to all the secondary school students at the start of the new school year in Sept/Oct 2015 and a donation of new dresses/underwear was distributed at the Under-5 Day Care Centres at Ngabu & Muona.

Volunteer Training - Our Ngabu OVC teachers were selected by another NGO & received 2 weeks special training on caring for kids with disabilities.

Severe weather conditions: Over the last 6 months Malawi has suffered from major flooding in the north, violent winds through the central region and serious on-going drought in the south. These weather conditions have brought with them damage to homes, caused the Nathenje church to collapse (but fortunately the OVC day care centre survived) and continuing food insecurity in many areas. Whilst impossible to meet all the needs, we have at least been able to provide extra plastic roofing sheets to beneficaries whose roofs were damaged. Some Chilumba OVC beneficaries (in the areas affected by the January floods) have received some assistance from other NGO’s through provision of money sent via the phone network with which they could purchase maize but the need remains great.

New AEC Leadership: the new church leadership was briefed on the current status of HOPE for AIDS and plans towards mainstreaming OVC/Pastoral Care activities within the church.

Forgotten Voices

Following a visit in late 2015, Forgotten Voices asked the AEC to conduct a food/farm inputs distribution to those affected badly by the floods. The distribution took place very successfully in December/January and consequently AEC have been asked to submit a proposal for further OVC interventions in the rural areas and so we are discussing with them how such an AEC invention could draw on HOPE for AIDS experiences & expertise or perhaps be a catalyst for faster mainstreaming of OVC ministries within the AEC.

Support of MuyayaOVC project

Discussions the leadership at Muyaya indicated that they were finding the process of coming up with an acceptable business plan for an income generating activity (IGA) to be ‘too difficult’ and so we have not pursued this activity further for the time being.

HOPE for AIDS Regional co-ordinator Sick Leave

Regional co-ordinator Anj Clapham returned to Australia in November on extended sick leave and thus the weekly capacity building at that she had started at Nathenje has not been possible over the last 6 months.

Plans for the coming 6 months

During the next 6 months, in addition to the regular visiting and provision of supplies we will

Support AEC in making a proposal to ‘Forgotten Voices’ for orphan care intervention through the AEC and look at how this can help facilitate mainstreaming HOPE for AIDS activities

Refresher trainings at all locations

Project background

As the AIDS pandemic spreads across Malawi, so many children are being orphaned that the traditional mechanisms within the community to care for these children are being stretch to breaking point. SIM, together with the AEC, made a strategy to start an orphan care programme in 2002 but the necessary personnel and funding only became available to allow a start to be made in October 2006, with the employment of the AEC Orphan & Vulnerable Children (OVC) co-ordinator. A pilot OVC programme was launched at Chilumba in July 2007 followed by two additional programmes in 2008. The original project was updated in order to adjust the timescales and budget for the establishment of a total of five OVC programs by 2010.

 

 
 


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