January 13, 2020

Helping children and communities in Malawi

With 23 children sponsored and 190 young children supported through two community based organisations in Malawi, there are many exciting developments to share. Jasmine Lehnis-Leitao, our Director of Operations, visited to make sure that funds are used well and to develop plans for the year ahead. She writes…

Improving education near the tea fields of Mulanje

Bloomfield Day Care Centre is a wonderful place: 107 children ages one to five have preschool education and meals there this year. I saw the small children enthusiastically dancing and singing at the top of their voices, then lining up to wash hands in the pure clean water of the well provided through Care in Action, and dipping their fingers into their lunch as they carried their plate to sit down and eat.

Children writing the letter ‘a’ on a chalkboard was just as impressive, because I’ve seen many of their grandmothers sign their name with a fingerprint. Our centre gives relief for children who are orphaned, many because of HIV, who are raised by their grandmothers.

The older children learn letters and numbers, which helps when they move up to Primary School.

Mary Gondwe has been the headteacher since I founded the Centre in 2004, and she does an excellent job of supervising the classes, involving the parents and maintaining links with Social Welfare. While basic costs are covered by Lujeri Tea Estate, Care in Action helps to develop the services and infrastructure.

Cylone Idai had flooded the area and damaged floors and books, so we made much needed repairs to keep the centre running well. In 2019 we also constructed a building for meals and nap times, at the recommendation of Social Welfare, so small children now have a safer place to sleep.

Supporting children in a township of Blantyre

In Blantyre I met a smiling six year old boy, named Blessings, with his grandmother. Blessings has a special connection to the centre because when he was orphaned as a baby the volunteers pulled together to buy milk and then looked after him at the nursery school. Because of the donors who help GEMO Day Care Centre in Chilobwe, Blessings has grown up with good nutrition and is now doing well at Primary school.

Blessings is thriving in the care of his grandmother, with support from Fatima Mauluka and her volunteers.

Care in Action helps to fund good meals for the 85 children at the centre. In Malawi, 37% of children grow up with long periods of mal-nutrition, which affects development. The poorest families are most at risk when food prices rise after floods or drought, or when water supply has problems. In Blantyre we have also invested in access to clean water for the children.

The centre generates some income from renting to micro-loan groups and makes the most of local donations. Seeing how Fatima Mauluka and her team of volunteers in Blantyre do so much to help the children in their area inspired me in 2001 when I first got to know them, and I am so happy that we can help them to continue to reach more children.

Giving teacher training, extra classes and essential meals in 2020

Thanks to our generous donors we have exciting developments ahead:

  • 4 teachers will go on training courses so they can be even more effective
  • new locally made wooden toys will support early child development
  • 45 children from primary school who need learning support will be given a meal and extra classes in Mulanje
  • a retaining wall will be built to defend against erosion which is currently threatening the classroom block in Blantyre
  • nutritious meals and water bills will be supplied in Blantyre

Both centres are thriving community hubs so they are well placed to help us manage our sponsorship for secondary education, which you can read about here.

Donations are helping children to grow up healthy and access education and better opportunities in one of the world’s poorest countries. On behalf of the children, their grandparents, and all of us at Care in Action, thank you for caring.

References: Nutrition Statistics in Malawi, UN, 2018

Become a partner

You might like to partner with us by helping to raise awareness, develop skills or being a sponsor. We have workshops for children's development and carer training that need support. Or, perhaps there is something else?