HOPE HOMES AND HOPE SCHOLARSHIP ANNUAL REPORT 2007
The Hope Homes and Hope Scholarship program is a twin initiative that was birthed in 2006 September as Rev. Copeland Nkhata (Mzuzu Circuit UMC) and Rev Michael Christensen (Prof Drew University) shared their dreams and visions in the area of Social Service Ministry. The issues that touch our hearts pertain to the Healing of many young souls that are socially wounded due to painful experiences such as loss of parents chiefly due to the HIV/AIDS scourge and other causes. HIV/AIDS has created a horrendous situation that has left many children vulnerable. They lack food, clothing, shelter, school fees, social security, medicine and other sundry needs. Other children are also infected with HIV/AIDS. While others are unable to go to school due to lack of parental care or lack of school fees. On the same vein others who were already in school drop out since the school fees provider has suddenly died. In more serious circumstances other children are even forced to relocate from urban areas or cities to rural areas usually far away from school so as to find shelter with their old grandparents who have too little to offer.
THE NEED OBSERVED IN MZUZU
1. Many orphans and vulnerable children often have no food, no clothes, no shoes, no school fees, no shelter.
2. Many orphans and vulnerable children have limited chances of education either because no one is available to pay their school fees or because hey have been thrown back home to live with old grandparents who are far away from school in the rural areas. Usually rural areas in Malawi are terribly under-privileged on matter of education. There are no schools nearby or the schools have neither school infrastructures nor teaching and learning materials such as books etc.
3. The orphans and vulnerable children suffer from stigma and marginalization from the mainstream of society as the society often stigmatize those that are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS. But they need protection and recognition like any other human being. Stigma causes excessive mental stress, frustration and withdrawal. The orphan and vulnerable children feel unprotected.
4. The youth among the orphan and vulnerable children tend to turn to delinquent behaviour such as alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, sexual perversion, abortions, rebellion etc. And the church ought to intervene to protect them from the bummer of becoming social misfits.
5. The orphans and vulnerable children are also subjected to child trafficking and child labour where brutal business men tend to take advantage of these orphans and employ them in their farms or homes for little or no pay. Other children are even subjected to objects of sexual pleasure for the rich. Sometimes the girl child is employed in pubs to entertain men sexually.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE
Between 2006 September and December 2007 we have done a lot of work in the Hope Homes and Hope Scholarship programs.
We started this program with 9 children who were on the feeding program where we provide corn and groundnuts to foster parents who could provide porridge every morning and evening to their children.
Once a month we also organized picnics for the orphans and vulnerable children to create an opportunity for recreation, learning and social conglomeration with other children. We also provided a chance for the orphan and vulnerable children to listen to biblical stories so as to draw them to the Lord Jesus who is the chief architect of healing and rehabilitation.
The good news is that the number of children in the feeding program has been growing at an alarming rate. It rose from 9 to 13 then to 22, then to 35.
When we made our budget last June 2007, we had 35 children. But from September 2007 to date we are feeding nearly 100 children – a figure too high for our budget.
In our budget we calculated to provide 50kg corn and 10kg groundnuts for every child every month. But the sky-rocketing numbers obviate the plan. We have since scrapped off the provision of groundnut in order to accommodate many victims. Therefore we need more funds to bear the whole burden well.
The Hope Scholarship started in September 2006 with 2 students in Form 3. The program has flourished over the past 16 months to more than 10 students.
Edson Msutu, Ribia Banda, Chimwemwe Mhone, Dyton Phiri, Ellen Mhone, Isabel Abigail, Mababazo are among those that have either finished their Diploma programs or still doing them.
Gift Chipeta, Chippo Selewa, Geoffrey, Jeremiah, Cecillia, Elton, Hastings, Osman, Tiwonge, and others are among those we are sponsoring for secondary school education.
The Hope Scholarship has bought 2 bicycles for some students who travel long distances to school. But we need more bicycles as we still have more students with that need.
The Hope Scholarship has also endeavoured to purchase books and stationery. Text books are very expensive but we need them at all cost so as to make the scholarship fruitful and this calls for a decent upward adjustment on our budget in order to realise the dream of intellectual development among our youth – the orphan and vulnerable children especially.
The program of intellectual empowerment is exceedingly important because it enables us as a church to whet mental faculties of the orphan and vulnerable children, actualize their talent potential and prepare them for active participation in the community and professional life of the nation – besides the church. This program is meant to combat illiteracy and make people mentally and spiritually free. It is clear that illiteracy is another form of bondage and slavery. Therefore education can undo this evil.
It is important at this juncture for the Mzuzu Circuit to say thank you Michael and all the stakeholders that have lovingly contributed to the success of this program. It has been of tremendous value for us as a church to receive so much financial support to bring healing and hope to the vulnerable and afflicted children.
Our projection is that in the near future many of these children who benefit from this program will live a fuller life than what they go through now. It is a program well calculated to change the complexion of things around many destitute souls.
It is also within the framework of our projection that we construct a Hope Homes Skills Centre where these children can be accorded an opportunity for skills in various areas such as Tailoring, Computer Skills and Carpentry. Such skills would enable some of these children to engage in some form of self-employment and be able to earn a living without having to sit in some clerical office. This idea can provide practical solutions to the problem of growing unemployment. I therefore court your attention, my dear friends to begin to look at this item as suggested above more closely and critically.
We also thank you for providing wells for water in our communities in our rural churches. We are very gratefully. As expected we need more boreholes in our rural communities for good health. Boreholes are essential because by them we protect our people from bad water which communicates waterborne diseases.
The church and all leader of United Methodist Church send their gratitude and joy for all your liberalities.
Rev Copeland Nkhata, Program Director
Leaster Mhone, Church Administrator
Peter Botha, Administrative Secretary
Darlison Nyirenda, Treasurer