In a collaborative framework with the community, Children’s Hope Malawi works to support HIV/AIDS prevention and impact-mitigation activities at community and household levels. It is our aspiration to reach economic independence through a well-implemented development program which will enable us to sustain our education, training and self-care through income generating activities (IGAs).
Children’s Hope Malawi, a USA based charity, works in collaboration with Children’s Hope Organization (formerly Mtogolo Community Based Organization) a non-government organization (NGO) registered under trusteeship incorporation in Malawi. Children’s Hope Organization was founded in 2004 by a member of the Mtogolo community, Jean Kalinga, after witnessing the devastation caused by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. She has since worked independently to raise funds for her community.
The origins of the Children’s Hope project began in February 2003 when the village Group village Headman Mtogolo expressed concern with the mounting AIDS cases and related deaths. This was evidenced by the rising number of orphans and child-headed households. The community established a committee that would specifically address the issues that emerged as a direct result of the AIDS crisis. The original committee was formed mainly to find strategies to prevent the spread of AIDS, to stop the deaths of so many productive members of the community, to educate people about HIV transmission and prevention, and the care of patients and orphans.
But fighting AIDS in an impoverished country is a multifaceted effort. A typical household in the village is characterized by inadequate access to basic needs such as housing, food, clothing and health care. Furthermore, infrastructure such as schools, bridges and roads continues to be of extremely poor quality and often hazardous during rainy seasons. One of the main problems within the Domasi area is heavy deforestation and shortage of land due to overpopulation. This makes finding resources to prepare food a time-consuming activity that involves women, children and the elderly. The Domasi River, a source of water and food, continues to dry up due to environmental degradation, making crop production more arduous with each passing year.
Our approach in helping orphans and vulnerable children is based on the premise that the community at large needs alleviation from poverty and extreme deprivation in order to combat AIDS. Children’s Hope therefore advocates a holistic approach which combines mitigating the biological effects of the disease, while at the same time supporting initiatives that will improve the social and economic mobility of the entire community. The essence of this approach is building the capacity and empowering communities to collectively work on dealing with challenges that have been brought about by the AIDS epidemic.