On the gentle slopes of Msambachikho, on the outskirts of Lilongwe City lies SOS Children’s Village Lilongwe, which takes care of 168 children and youths. One hundred and twenty children happily live with their SOS mothers in family houses while the other 48live in youth homes. The Village is filled with happiness and tranquillity as some children run around happily while others are busy sharing jokes with their mothers. Some mothers are on the verandas of their homes telling their small children folk tales. Children sit around them laughing their lungs out while at the same time learning cultural proverbs which the mothers use to spice up the tales. Some mothers are busy teaching their children how to cook and the sweet aroma of food invades the whole village.
Malawi Senior Certificate Examination results were released and five students rushed into the Village Director’s office. Their faces are beaming and smiles are playing on their lips. They announced the news which brought them into the Director’s office. ‘We have passed and we are looking forward to going to college now,’ they boast. Some of them have passed very well and will be writing University of Malawi Entrance Examinations.
In March, SOS children were mesmerized by Madonna, the American pop diva, when she came to inspect the construction of Rising Malawi Girls’ Academy, a high school she is constructing in Kanengo. She was impressed with our children’s traditional dance performances. They also participated in making stretchers to carry sick people. Children used their artistic skills by pasting teeth made of egg shells onto black paper. It was a lot of fun!
SOS Primary School
Our main stream has 16 classes with double streams in standards 1-8 with special needs students integrated into the mainstream classes; mainly for socialization purpose, especially those with cerebral palsy. During the end of the first term , the average pass rate was over 95%.
SOS Secondary School
Our Secondary School is open to children from SOS Village Family Strengthening Programme, SOS children and those from the community.
We also have special needs students who according to the new education policy learn together with all other students. We have 492 students and 25 teachers. National Examination Results: In the Malawi School Certificate Examinations, 69 out of 101 students passed the examination and 20 of these were students from the SOS Village. In the Junior Certificate Examinations 74 out of 84 students passed.
Late last year 57 of our children graduated into their first year of primary school. Children really enjoyed the nursery Christmas Play where they also recited poems and rhymes to their parents and guardians. We had 180 children enrolled for the new academic year which started in December, 2009. During this year the tiny tots have been busy making caps for the community nurse and ambulance personnel and then painted them with various colours of red.
Family Strengthening Programme
SOS Family Strengthening Programme believes that the best place for a child to grow up is with their biological families. SOS Lilongwe Family Strengthening Programme as an outreach programme that strives to keep children in a caring family environment. We try to have an impact on 2,000 who come from 606 families. Thirteen savings and credit groups have been established with 224 families. There have been 13 cash boxes and 224 pass books have been distributed to 13 groups. The family groups will uplift the economic status of the families through Village Savings Loans in their respective groups.
SOS Medical Center
The Lilongwe Medical Centre is made up of the Children’s Rehabilitation Program and Clinic. Both programs are focused on helping orphaned children in addition to those who are at risk of loosing guardians. We work in collaboration with the Family Strengthening Programme and Home Based Care Programmes. This year the clinic started very well. As March ended we had a total of 4,671 outpatients - all new beneficiariesfor this year. These outpatients went through the ARV clinic, laboratory, X-ray, and lastly the dispensary where they received cost-free drugs under the sponsorship of well wishers despite the economic crunch. Most of the outpatients come from nearby communities. For continued professionalism of the Medical Centre staff, there is trainings offered by Ministry of Health which we regularly attend.