February 2022 - About the Iris Malawi Children of Hope Program
The Children of Hope program is Iris Malawi’s second tier of care for orphaned children. It helps some of the poorest children in the community, those at greatest risk of hunger, sickness, neglect, and abuse.
Through the Children of Hope program, children receive food and other resources to encourage healthy living and keep them in school.
Iris Malawi has 7 children’s homes for orphans on the ministry base in Bangula and over the years has brought home 102 children. These children are approved through the District Social Welfare Director and endorsed by the Malawi Court. Children come having experienced devastating circumstances in their lives.
The children selected for the Children of Hope program have experienced similar situations of tragedy and are considered 'at risk’. The difference is that they have a relative or guardian available to take care of them.
Iris staff visit each household at least once during the month to evaluate the health of the children, inspect their home, ensure each child is attending school, and deliver food. When required, Iris provides medical care, clothing, school uniforms, and may need to organize the repair of a leaky roof or dig a new latrine.
The Children of Hope program is fluid, in that new households are added when tragedy strikes, as well as situations where beneficiaries become independent and no longer require assistance.
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Iris had the joy of building three homes for three needy families in December 2022. One of their stories follows:
Ruth is a grandmother caring for her three orphaned grandchildren (two boys and a girl). The new home was built on Ruth's property, located in the southern region of Malawi. Iris has been supporting Ruth and her grandchildren for the last six years.
[Ruth and her granddaughter in front of their new house.]
[Ruth is handed the key.]
[From the inside.]
[Ruth was very excited about her new kitchen.]
[The new bathhouse.]
Their original house was in a shattered condition, built with mud bricks and a grass roof. Termites had invaded and the roof was at risk of collapsing with approaching seasonal rains.
[Ruth and her family in front of their old house.]
The oldest boy is 22 years old and dropped out of primary school many years ago after completing standard 4. He lives with his grandmother and has a small business buying fish from fishermen on the Shire River and then selling fish at the local market. He earns little profit, but every bit helps. He volunteered as an assistant to the builders and gained building skills, an experience that he can use in the future to help support himself.
The youngest boy is 13 years old and in standard 3. He has asthma and because of his condition frequently misses school. The new home should provide a cleaner environment conducive to helping him manage his condition.
[The youngest boy is excitedly playing with a homemade soccer ball with his friends.]
Ruth's granddaughter is 10 years old and in standard 3. Her photograph is on the cover of this report. She was very excited the day they moved into their new home, giving a thumbs-up about the wonderful gift.
[Moving from the old to the new.]