SOS Children in Malawi
HIV/AIDS continues to have a massive effect on the lives of people in Malawi. Every year, thousands die because of the disease. Our charity works in three different places in Malawi, giving children a chance to live a life safe from the worst of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
With SOS Children, you can help orphaned and abandoned children in Malawi by sponsoring a child:
HIV/AIDS is a continuing crisis
Malawi ranks at 153rd on the UN Human Development Index, one of the lowest placed countries in the world. Without access to clean water, sanitation and healthcare, living conditions, especially in rural areas, can be extremely poor. 30% of Malawi’s children do not start primary school. Approximately 11% of Malawians aged between 15 and 49 are infected with HIV/AIDS. Shockingly, over 50,000 Malawians lose their lives every year due to HIV/AIDS. An ambitious programme to tackle HIV/AIDS has recently been launched, but it will take time for it to make a positive impact on the day-to-day lives of Malawians.
Children in Malawi
- Over a quarter of Malawian children are involved in child labour. Up to 78,000 children work on tobacco farms, where working hours are often long and in poor conditions. Nicotine poisoning for tobacco farm workers can be very damaging. Whilst young boys typically work in the fields, girls can work selling goods or are forced to engage in commercial sex work.
- 1 in 5 children in Malawi is malnourished. An under-five mortality rate of 110 per 1,000 is still far too high, despite improvements in recent years. Up to a million children in Malawi are growing up without one or both parents, 650,000 of the total due to HIV/AIDS.
Our charity work in Malawi
We opened our first community in Malawi in 1994 on the outskirts of the capital Lilongwe. There are 12 family homes which are home to 120 children. Education for these children, together with children from the local community, is provided in three SOS schools. The SOS Nursery has classes for 180 little children, the SOS Primary School has 670 pupils in 20 classes, and the SOS Secondary School has 520 pupils in 13 classes. There is also an SOS Vocational Training Centre for 140 young people, where they are taught skills needed by the local economy.
At the beginning of 2002, SOS Children Malawi responded to the growing AIDS epidemic with a community outreach programme, which is co-ordinated by the SOS Social Centre in Lilongwe. Through this, 2,000 children and their families who are directly or indirectly affected by HIV / AIDS are supported within their family environments through the provision or improvement of housing, food and medical aid, the payment of school fees, business training, and general psychosocial support. And to improve the health of the community, an SOS Medical Centre cares for over 22,000 people per year. A therapy centre for 1,000 children offers physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and orthopaedics.
Malawi's second SOS Children’s Village opened in Mzuzu in 2002. Situated in northern Malawi on a high plateau surrounded by mountains, Mzuzu is one of the largest towns in an area where there are no facilities or care provisions for destitute and orphaned children. The Village has 15 family houses which are home to 150 children. There is also an SOS Nursery School for 90 children. In 2005, an SOS Primary School was opened in Mzuzu, giving education to 320 children in the local community as well as from the SOS Children's Village. The SOS Social Centre in the town offers HIV / AIDS affected families similar support to that in Lilongwe.
Malawi’s newest children's village opened in Blantyre in September 2007. The percentage of orphans in Blantyre is high compared to the rest of the country, at almost 10%. Poverty is also increasing - it is estimated that over 300,000 children and families live below the poverty line. The Children’s Village cares for 150 children in 15 family homes; there is an SOS Nursery School for 90 children; an SOS Primary School for 320 pupils; an SOS Social Centre for 2,000 children; and an SOS Medical and Therapy Centre, similar to the one in Lilongwe, for 21,000 people.
Life in SOS Children's Villages Malawi: Vanessa does not like beans
Vanessa has already finished her first term at the SOS Nursery School; she is a lively little girl, the sunshine of her family. She loves babies and regularly stops by house No. 4 where recently Annie, a one-month-old girl, has found a new home. Vanessa herself was hardly two or three weeks old when she was among the first children who came to SOS Children's Village Lilongwe in Malawi five years ago.
She shares her sad fate with thousands of children, but at the same time it was a stroke of good fortune that gave her a new home at the SOS Children's Village. A wicker basket is the only relic recalling her past. A local woman found Vanessa hidden behind a pile of firewood, so she put her into a wicker basket and took her to the local hospital. She then came to live at the SOS Children’s Village. Enquiries made by the social authorities about the child's family led to a village near Lilongwe, where it turned out that both parents had died, probably of AIDS.
In the meantime, Vanessa is developing in a marvellous way. The little bundle whose provisional home had once been a basket, has turned into a happy five-year-old girl who loves walking around the Village with her friend Chimwemwe. She knows already a few words in English, and every Saturday, she helps her mother clean and tidy up. There is only one thing she does not like at all: beans.
*names have been changed for privacy reasons
Local contact details
SOS Children's Village of Malawi Trust
P.O. Box 2359
Tel: +265 175 66 67
Fax: +265 175 12 98