Monday, October 23, 2006

First HopeHomes Sponsored




Mission Update: Through the generocity of Hopegivers International, we were able to sponsor the first HopeHome in Mzuzu, Malawi last week.

A HopeHome is simply an extended family unit that receives nutritional food aid medical assitance, and educational scholarships from external sources. Instead of adopting AIDS orphans from outside the country, our approach is to strenghten extended family units within the country of origin. It's hard enough for a family of five in Malawi to support themselves where extreme poverty prevails. It is almost impossible for nuclear families that have informally adopted another 10 or so orphans to care for their basic needs. But many families in Malawi are willing to do this, and we want to help them do it. That's why we found a way to sponsor the first HopeHome in Mzuzu.

Since 2003, CitiHope has provided emergency food and life-saving medicine to 1000 orphans in four day-care centers (feeding outposts) in Malawi on a daily bases. In addition, we provide nutritional meals and medical aid to 10,000 hospital patients and prisoners in 40 social and church-sponsored institutions in Malawi each month. At least 50% of these orphans are believed to be HIV infected. All of them are vulnerable and at-risk of malnutrition, disease and exploitation unless they remain under the care of their guardians who bring them from their homes to the Center.

Guardians are grandparents, uncles, aunts, and neighbors who serve informally as foster parents after their parents die or are unable to care for the kids themselves. It is deeply inspirational to see how the extended family system works in Malawi, and re-assuring to know that they are not just looking for a free hand-out but just a hand-up to make it on their own.

HopeHome Sponsorship entails financially supporting nutritional food suppliments and educational expenses for orphaned children. (Primary school is free but those who are able to continue past the 8th grade must pay approximately $300/yr.)

For as little as $50/month, we can feed an orphan and keep him or her in school for a year! For $600, we can sponsor an extended family with 10 orphaned or abandoned kids.

So, I'm on a fund-raising campaign to fund 10 HopeHome sponsors before year's end. If you are reading this Blog, maybe you will be one of them.

If you have a heart for orphans in Africa and want to help, please contact me:

mchriste@citihope.org

You can make a contribution at www.citihope.org