October 2021 Iris Malawi Children of Hope Program Update
The Children of Hope program was created to support orphan children who have critical needs but have a relative able to care for them in the village. Children without relatives are relocated to the children’s homes located on the Iris base.
Orphan children with critical needs would include situations of hunger, safety, and health risks. Without intervention, these children would drop out of school and be at high risk for child labor and abuse. In most situations, these children are cared for by their elderly grandparents. Each child has a case study, and we work together with the local officials (social welfare). These households are the poorest of the poor. We support them with food, clothing, school uniforms and supplies, and medical help when necessary until they complete secondary school and are adults. Below are two such stories:
Meet the Mbeu Family:
Just before the rains arrived in earnest this last December, we were able to build a new house for one of our Children of Hope families. The house they had been living in was very tiny and in danger of collapsing in the heavy rain.
The family, headed up by a single dad, includes a teenager with cerebral palsy who cannot walk so the door of this house had to be wide enough for a wheelchair. They are overjoyed.
Still, the daily struggle of finding enough food is exhausting. The father of this house has a bicycle with which he collects firewood each day to sell in the market. This just about gives them one meal a day, as long as he and all four kids are healthy. When this is not the case, food support from Iris is a life saver, providing nourishment when there is nothing.
[Mbeu family together in front of their old house made of mud bricks and grass. The newly constructed home positioned in front of their old one. Now this family is sage without the worry of their house collapsing as they sleep.]
Meet the Marco Family:
African grandparents are extraordinary people who often carry the burden of feeding and clothing their grandchildren. When I see households experiencing extreme poverty, living without so many of the basic needs that most of us take for granted, I question how they manage to survive.
The Marco children (ages 6, 8 & 11) lost both their parents a couple of years ago and have since lived with their grandparents in Bangula. They live in a dilapidated mud brick home with a patched-together straw roof, the kind which immediately grabs my attention and breaks my heart. Together, this little family fights to survive by gathering firewood each day to sell at the market. Their earnings do not amount to much, but enough to purchase a little food for the day. The grandparents are elderly and frail, yet because of their gracious hearts, surrender all they have within them for the sake of their kin.
Iris learned about this vulnerable family when the children came hungry, begging for food. They heard that Iris gives food and support to people who are suffering Further follow-up resulted in Iris intervening by providing food, clothes, soap, and regular visits to ensure the health and safety of this family. When schools reopened after closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Iris fitted these children with uniforms so that they can receive an education at the Bangula Primary School.
Thank you for helping to relieve the suffering of the Marco family in Malawi.