Monday, December 07, 2009

Orphanages Help but the Answer


A few of the 60+ HopeHome Program recipients of food aid and educational scholarships sponored by WorldHopeCorps.    Program operated by Mzuzu United Methodist Church and Mzuzu ShalomZone.


As African Orphanages Spread,
Advocates Propose a Better Way the front page of yesterday’s the New York Times, the headline read. The article made a comparison between institutional orphanages, like the one where Madonna adopted a boy, and the extended family approach to orphan care, like the Mzuzu HopeHome orphan care project in Malawi. Researchers reviewing hundreds of studies concluded that “orphanages are not the best solution but are needed when families could not or would not care for children.”  Strongly endorsed were community centers that provide cash and food aid to the poorest families caring for orphaned and vulnerable children who are not their own.  See the online version of the article here:

 INTERNATIONAL / AFRICA   | December 06, 2009
Aid for Relatives Offers Alternative to African Orphanages
By CELIA W. DUGGER


Madonna now sponsors the operational budget of the orphanage in Malawi where she adopted her first child.  From all reports, it is doing good work.   WorldHope Corps HopeHome program in Malawi is not an orphanage.   It is a community-based initiative of the Mzuzu Methodist Church, funded in part by the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund, to care for at least 60 orphaned and vulnerable children (OVC) through an extended family network of informal foster care.  At least 60 out of the 100 OVC in the immediate neighborhood in need of basic care.

Often these children, many orphaned from AIDS, have a surviving parent or siblings or a nearby relative that could take them in and provide basic care if they had a subsidy to buy more food, shoes, and  school fees.  Since 2006, the church has purchased food in bulk and distributed to needy families who are caring for up to a dozen orphans in their households.  But every year, the cost is greater, and additional grants and sponsors are needed to sustain the work,

According to the New York Times article, it costs at least $1500/year for an orphanage to provide nutritious meals, new school uniforms, decent shoes, and an education to one orphan.  “Experts and child advocates maintain that orphanages are expensive and often harm children’s development by separating them from their (extended) families.”  A more cost effective way is with simple allocations of cash through a reliable community center “where orphans who remain with their families can go for food and services.”  This approach enables a family to feed, clothe and educate the additional children in their care.

WorldHope Corps budgets $600/year per child for the basics (food, shelter, shoes, clothes and a blanket) for 60 OVC plus an additional $400/year for secondary school fees when individual sponsors can be found.  This year (2009) we were able to find sponsors for 19 youth—a solid investment in the lives of those who represent the future prosperity of Malawi.

Thus, for $1000/year (less than $100/month) an orphaned or vulnerable child can survive and thrive and get the education he or she needs in order to succeed through the extended family approach to orphan care.  And now, with an increasing number of sponsors and a new economic venture, the work has the potential of becoming sustainable over the long run. 

Watch the YouTube video on this important ministry:   

Next year we hope to care for all 100 OVC who show up at the monthly church ‘picnic’ or feeding program.

Next year (2010), through a $20,000 sustainability grant from United Methodist Committee on Relief, we are committed to starting 3-4 small business intended to generate revenue to help support the Hope Home program.  The first of these economic ventures is a women’s sewing center to making quality dresses, shirts and school uniforms in the city of Mzuzu.  Hope Tailoring School and Center currently has 12 female students in training who will graduate in May.  Proceeds from the sale of items will be donated to the orphan care program they support.

We are still in need of small grants and sponsors for HopeHomes, Hope Scholarships and the new Hope Tailoring School.  In behalf of Rev. Copeland (pastor of Mzuzu UMC and member of the Mzuzu ShalomZone Committee that operates the programs), I urge you during this season of sharing to contribute to the good work.

You can either send check made payable to
WorldHope Corps
11 Ardsleigh Drive
Madison, NJ 07940

Or donate online at  www.worldhopecorps.com
For further information, contact:
Dr. Michael J. Christensen
WorldHope Corps, Inc.
info@worldhopecorps.com