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Malawi projects

Two orphan care centres, “Genesis – Manja Othandiza” in Blantyre and “Bloomfield Day Care Centre” in Mulanje, were developed with support from Jasmine Lehnis-Leitao, and have received contributions from Care in Action. Though the two centres operate differently, at both places orphans and vulnerable children receive care, cooked meals and school education.

Elesi Benala is one of the girls attending Day Care. She was suggested by Chief Nkuta as a candidate because both of her parents had passed away. She is the youngest of originally seven children aged 7 – 24. Her oldest brother Steven was killed in a brawl in 2004. Her mother had also passed away after years of sickness (AIDS), which was the same for her father.

Elesi has been unsuccessful in attending primary school because of personal trauma. At five years old she would run away from relatives if told to go to school. After months at Bloomfield her health improved and so did her behaviour. She graduated and went on to do well at school. Contributions from Care in Action provided school uniforms and food for her siblings, and ensured that she continued with her education.

Bloomfield Day Care Centre was developed by Jasmine Lehnis-Leitao to meet the need for nursery school facilities in rural Mulanji and were later extended to include Primary School. AIDs orphans are attending alongside local children. When both parents work to earn a meagre living, there are times when older siblings are required to look after the small children and miss school as a result.

The Day Care Centre opened in September 2004, the construction sponsored by the Tea Charity Auction. The running costs are met by voluntary donations with some help from Lujeri Tea Estate and Care in Action Munich / Germany. A team of five ladies, who receive a very small salary, provide basic nursery education and two nutritious meals for up to 60 children. To encourage self-help, a large garden with vegetables and bananas which helps to supplement the children’s diet, is being tended by the school.

Contributions made through Care in Action have helped towards running costs of the school, and have also sponsored two orphaned girls to attend Bloomfield Day Care Centre and later on to continue with their schooling.

Services at Bloomfield were extended to offer educational support for primary school children. On three afternoons a week, 45 children who were identified at the Primary School as in need of academic help come for extra lessons. A basic meal is provided for these students with help from Andrew and Emily Deane of Culford School (UK).

When Jasmine moved to Blantyre in 2007 the management was passed on to Cheyne King, who continues to ensure that all donations are used effectively, and that the services offered will continue for years to come.

This day care centre is a community-based organisation that provides meals and pre-school education to orphaned children in the Naotcha suburb of Blantyre. Jasmine Lehnis-Leitao first got to know this day care centre in early 2002 when she was part of a series of AIDS awareness courses run by Manja Othandiza (Helping Hands). At the time, they had no premises to operate from, as the building they had rented had lost its roof in a storm. Some donors came forward to replace the roof, and funding was sourced so that the premises could be purchased.

The management of the Day Care Centre is handled by a committee led by Fatima Mauluka. A team of volunteers feed and provide nursery education for up to 70 children daily. Members of the community who are in serious need, such as the elderly or guardians caring for newly born orphans, have also come to the centre for assistance.

The food for the centre has been provided by a local businessman for the last six years, and Care in Action has provided some support as well. Genesis Malawi was impressed by the community effort and added a poultry unit which sells eggs for income generation to stimulate self-help. The local community has shown great initiative to keep the Day Care Centre operating. Many very vulnerable children benefit and have now hope for a better future.


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