September 30, 2018

Partnerships in Malawi

Care in Action supports and works with two community based Day Care Centres in Malawi, “GEMO” in Naotcha, Blantyre and “Bloomfield Day Care Centre” in Mulanje. Both are dedicated to providing care and education to children in their communities and make a special effort to include children who may have lost parents to AIDS.

Traditionally in Malawi, an orphan is taken in by the extended family, often a grandmother or aunt. The impact of AIDS has increased the numbers of orphans enormously, making it difficult for families to cope.

Supporting pre-school Day Care is a way to meet the nutritional and educational needs of an orphaned child while keeping them within their traditional family structure. We partner with community based organisations to build on the care they give to preschool children, support after school tutoring for primary school children, and provide sponsorship to give access to secondary school.

The cornerstones of the Day Care Centres we partner with are:

  1. Nutrition: simple good meals go a long way to promoting health in a country where 40% of the children are stunted because of lack of nutrition in the early years.
  2. Education: a head start before primary school where there can be 200 children in one classroom, tutoring for children in primary school, and access to secondary school.
  3. Safe care: with the orphan’s guardians working to support the extended family, who looks after the small ones? In a safe environment of day care and with a warm meal in their tummies, the children have a better chance to develop their potential.

The longstanding relations we have with the leaders of both organisations has lead to them both becoming administrators for the Care in Action sponsorship programme. They help the programme to identify vulnerable needy children with potential and support them to complete secondary education or to learn a profession.

 

Bloomfield Day Care Centre

A day care and preschool established in 2004 by Jasmine Lehnis-Leitao with the support of private donations and funding from the Tea Charity Auction. Situated on Lujeri Tea Estates, who provide much of the running costs, it has become of a community centre valued by parents and children alike.

Children who are graduating from Bloomfield and ready to start primary school perform for their parents and community.

70 children age 3 to 6 receive a meal and preschool education in the morning. Each afternoon an additional 45 local children from primary school who need care and learning support receive a lunch, extra lessons and help with their homework.

Thanks to a generous grant to Care in Action a much needed well was built for the Bloomfield Day Care Center. Previously the only source of water has been from a nearby stream. What a difference it made to have their own well with clean safe water. No more trudging to the stream to collect water and wash all the pots and dishes from the children’s meal on the slippery edge of the stream.

Our Administrator Mary Gondwe with Elesi Banda, who ran away from school until she spent time at Bloomfield Day Care Centre, and is now well integrated and succeeding at school.

 

GEMO

Day care centre is a community-based organisation that provides care, meals and pre-school education to vulnerable and 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, GEMO had no premises to operate from. By raising funds within the business community Jasmine helped GEMO purchase their premises, which is still a vital community centre.

The management of the Day Care Centre is handled by a committee led by Fatima Mauluka. A team of local volunteers feed and provide nursery education for up to 100 children daily. Members of the community who are in serious need, such as the elderly or guardians caring for newly born orphans, also come to the centre for assistance.

GEMO works towards sustainability by developing local and international partners who contribute, and by keeping costs low. The staple food for the centre has been provided by a local businessman since 2003. An American organisation, Genesis Malawi was impressed by the community effort and added a poultry unit which sells eggs for income generation to promote self-help.

malawi secondary school sponsorship
Students sponsored through secondary school with Care in Action, and Fatima Mauluka who leads the programme.

Care in Action helps to develop the infrastructure and fills some funding gaps. In 2013 we funded water connection and storage, providing running water to the centre for the first time. In 2016 Care in Action funded building renovations and donations for the food of the children.

As an active community centre, GEMO is a strong local partner to deliver sponsorships which keep bright children in education, when they were previously limited by poverty.

The local community has shown great initiative to keep the Day Care Centre operating. Many very vulnerable children benefit and now have hope for a better future.

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?