Mzuzu Banner

A  Voluntary, Non Profit Mzuzu Childrens Aid Program Created by People in the Communities of Mzuzu, Malawi and Cobourg, Ontario, Canada

Coordinated by  St Peter's Anglican Church (Cobourg) and St Mark's Anglican Church (Mzuzu)

 

Mission Statement

Our Mandate:
 
In the summer of 2005, The Reverend Canon Peter Walker of St.Peter's received an appeal from Archdeacon James Chifisi of St Mark's in Mzuzu, Malawi. Father Chifisi's church was attempting to feed 250 AIDS orphans once a month but could not meet the financial requirements to do this. Our Mzuzu AIDS Orphans' Feeding Program was our response to this appeal. The remarkable success of this Mzuzu Childrens program has meant the we have been able to develop programs to help these children in health care and education and meet many crisis situations that these little ones meet on a daily basis.
 
Vision:
 
Our dream was to establish a sponsorship program where funds would be available to allow us to make funds available to St.Marks to feed these 250 Mzuzu children on a weekly basis. This is now happening and so much more. And our Vision continues to grow!
 
Mission:
 
Our Mission also continues to grow. As we fulfilled our vision to feed these children on a weekly basis, we began to look at other areas of basic needs that we could help fund.
 
In consultation with the Orphan Care Committee of St. Mark's, Mzuzu it was determined that we could assist in some areas of health care. We are now supplying mosquito netting to decrease the risk of malaria. At the regular Saturday feeding, a dentist examines a few children each week and takes care of minor dental issues and also provides education and toothbrushes and toothpaste. If a child must go to the hospital, the basic fee is covered by us. We also made the decision to assist with secondary education and are now sending 10 girls and 10 boys to school. To help with feeding throughout the week, kitchen gardens have been established by many of the guardians of our children.
 
Fundraising:
 
This outreach is funded in a variety of ways. We began with a "penny "box at the back of the church and this is still valuable as a means for anyone to be a part of this program. We have envelopes in the church that can be used by donors to receive a tax receipt at year end. A popular way to fund this is through direct deposit on a monthly basis and this can be set up through Heather Godfrey 905-372-5727. Many generous parishioners and community members also make annual contributions. We have a sponsorship program whereby individuals can sponsor one child for yearly feeding ($250) or education ($350).
 
Our Mzuzu team has supported many fund raising endeavours to include both the parish and larger community of Cobourg. A popular event is our annual African/Mzuzu Sunday held in January. This outreach is a focus of the service and following the Mzuzu team puts on an amazing Soup Lunch for all who wish to attend. The funds from this event are earmarked in advance for a specific goal in our outreach.
 
There is still much that we can and want to do for our children. Our commitment is for the long term and we invite you to join us as we make these children aware that strangers from across the world in Canada do care about them and want to help them grow into happy and productive citizens of their country of Malawi.
 
Feeding:
 
This basic human need was the impetus for our program. Little children who had to walk many miles, often alone, on a Saturday in hope of receiving their main meal of the month only to be turned away tugged at out hearts and sense of justice. In a land where we want for few luxuries hunger is a stranger. Our sense of mission as Christians was challenged by this picture and a small team at St. Peter's rose to the challenge. No, we are not feeding these children daily but have proof that even one nutritious meal each week will help these children to fight off disease and carry on until the next week.
 
  Why only once a week? Several reasons.

1. These children must come several miles to eat on Saturday and have to go to school other days. 2. The small group who prepares food and carries out the program do not have the time or energy to do this on a daily basis. and 3. At this point in time we do not have adequate funds to feed daily.
 
The exception is the 20+ children who are identified as HIV positive. In order for them to benefit from the anti retro viral drugs supplied by the government, they must eat each day. Small parcels of prepared food are sent with these children so that they can take life saving drugs.

 

 

Kitchen Cooking 

 

 Mother Union in Action

 

 Mzuzu Children Enjoying Meal  The Weekly Meal
 Mzuzu Children Meals  Typical Meal

 The weekly meal being prepared by The Mother's Union and being enjoyed by Mzuzu Children

Prepared by Heather Godfrey

 

Mzuzu Children Project Update:

 The Mzuzu AIDS Orphan Project is expanding. At this point over 50% of all gifts in 2009 and to date in 2010 were from the greater Cobourg community. Your project team and the St. Mark’s community are grateful to our many sponsors and donors. Annually project donors are giving approximately $50,000. in support.

An orphan AIDS project proposal was revised for submission to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), requesting a 3:1 funding match of St. Peter’s funds. To date we have not been successful with our submissions. However, hopefully this can change for the future

In brief this integrated locally based program carries out a variety of work activity, with the Malawi St. Mark’s partnership parish taking the lead in carrying out this community based project initiative.

St. Mark’s has a parish made up of 17 communities or Wards within Mzuzu. These communities have been severely affected by HIV /AIDS. The orphans and their extended families are benefiting from a variety of support. St. Peter’s, Cobourg and its supporters are providing funding and expertise to assist (in partnership with St. Mark’s and the Anglican diocese of Northern Malawi) 250 AIDS orphan children ranging in ages from 1 year to 18 years. However this is not an orphanage project, but a community based initiative, where the children remain within their local communities and benefit for their rich indigenous customs.

 

Planned and ongoing project undertakings include:

 

1. Nutrition and feeding of 250 HIV /AIDS infected and affected orphans and 50+ guardians with young children. The orphans require improved general diet, dietary supplements and vitamins to strengthen their immune systems. This also involves providing a secure source of food, and agricultural training of the orphans and their communities to become self-sufficient in growing survival crops. The present feeding program will be expanded from, as funds become available.


2. Health care of orphan girls and boys and to some immediately affected community members. This involves planned health initiatives and the payment of fees for health visits to doctors and hospitals as well as to dentists. Part of a future health initiative involves some of the communities in the provision of sustainable potable water and in simple waste management approaches such as building and utilizing appropriately located latrines. Mosquito netting is being provided as part of a drive to reduce malaria.  In addition, the children receive blankets, clothing and shoes. Winters are cold and the community huts are not heated.


3. Basic education of the orphan children at elementary and secondary levels. This also involves school selection and annually increasing the number of orphans able to attend secondary school (fees, clothing, student materials and food paid for).  At this time 20 children (equal numbers of girls and boys) are attending secondary school, paid for by St. Peter’s, Cobourg. In addition, specific skills’ training is presently being set-up and is already being taught by local teachers, particularly for those children unable to complete school. Small plot farming training in consort with the City of Mzuzu and the Department of Gender and Social Services has been initiated in 2010.


4. Micro-enterprise training and the provision of ‘seed’ money by St. Peter’s to assist suitable orphans and guardians to become self-sufficient in developing business skills and to put their experience to work and to obtain much needed income. This is intended to include training’ programs with local volunteer Malawians so that they in turn are able to go out and train others. Ten AIDS infected women and some orphan children are part of this new project.


 

5. Agricultural small plot market gardening has been initiated for the orphan children and to some degree for their communities. Orphans and guardians are being trained in simple ways of improving family nutrition through urban agriculture. Kitchen gardens are being planted by orphans and their guardians in small plots adjacent to their traditional houses in the city to assist with household nutrition and as a source of income. Some of the vegetables grown within this initiative are being provided to the project to assist with the orphan feeding program. For several years larger scale rice planting was done to provide food for the project and maize was raised in 2009. Additional priority project themes include gender initiatives are underway – particularly with reference to vulnerable orphan girls, as well as promotion of an ecological/environmental theme so that the local communities can continue to grow crops in a sustainable way with minimal loss over several years. Thus agro-forestry and sound soils maintenance practices are also part of the new elements of this program. Professional Canadian expertise is involved. Our Canadian team has experience with tree seed centres in this part of Africa – where high quality seeds are made available for communities. The object is of course to develop capability within Mzuzu youths and children.  

Volunteer teams are being trained to provide supportive roles for the orphans and their communities, in nutrition/feeding, health care, education and micro-enterprise. The volunteers receive small per diem travel support and provisions as they carry out their work. Usually these amounts are in the order of $2.00 CAD.

 

Project Growth and Change

 

As the project changes and expands and new and appropriate initiatives are undertaken, there is a need to include an effective project administration component both in Cobourg and in Mzuzu. The project is organized at St. Peter’s, Cobourg by a 12 person project team and an executive, and at St. Mark’s, Mzuzu by a project office, which includes a project manager, a volunteer women’s executive and a team of 110 women called the Mother’s Union. A written contribution agreement between the two partners has been signed and accountability measures are in place to assure compliance with Canadian and Malawian legal requirements for financial and project undertakings.

In order for this project to go forward to an agency such as CIDA, it has taken from 2006 to now to complete the requirements for a suitable proposal document and have all the required components in place. Thus Dr. John Lazier and I carried out further project work in Mzuzu in 2009 to evaluate the project and report back on any possible future planned expansion. Again in 2010 I carried out a thorough evaluation of the program and it’s components - along with a financial review to assure the Canadian donors of the health program. I can happily report at this point, that the program is moving ahead successfully. Necessity and the fact of the Canada Revenue Agency has required us to establish a small project office at St. Mark’s. So we find ourselves also mentoring a project team leader in Mzuzu, but at minimal cost.

 

All funds are used for the direct and actual support of the 250 children and no funds or administrative charges are being considered. 

 

 

It is possible to support and sponsor children for $10 to $20 CAD per month, through automatic banking or cash gifts. All gifts are receipted through St. Peter’s Anglican Church.

 

Many thanks to donors who have so willingly and graciously supported the orphan children.

 

Colin Turnpenney


Coordinator, Mzuzu AIDS Orphan Care Programme
St. Peter’s, Cobourg


October, 2010 Cobourg 

Smiles of relief,

 

 

Follow mzuzuchildren on Twitter