How it Began
As a primary school teacher in Liverpool, Katie Bushell first visited Malawi in February 2009 on a Teacher’s International Professional Development (TIPD) program with the British Council. She immediately fell in love with the beauty of Malawi and the Malawian people. She returned a year later to spend 4 months working in Chikale Primary School as a teacher. During this visit she met a 13 year old homeless boy called Doud in Liongwe, the capital city. Doud was extremely malnourished, he had a high HIV count and evidently there was no-one to look after him. Extremely concerned for his welfare, with the help of Nina Pulford a lot of time was spent trying to get him into a safe home.
It became apparent that there was a shortage of orphan care. She returned to Malawi in August 2011 with the intention of finding a location for the proposed orphanage, once the fundraising target had been reached. However, during this visit it became apparent that a much simpler, more sustainable and cost-effective solution existed, one that could be implemented immediately – to place children in a foster environment with a local family.
The First Home
Martha was introduced to us in December 2010. After having raised four of her own sons, she felt that she had the skills and love to be able to take care of orphaned children within her own home. Tilinanu, a charity founded by the Pulford family based in the same area, took care of orphaned girls so we decided it would be beneficial for the first foster care home to accept orphaned boys. In August 2011, our first four boys were welcomed into Martha’s house.
The first year was extremely successful with all four children passing their exams in school and becoming noticeably healthier and stronger. Due to the success of this year, we decided that if we raised enough money, we would build a small house on Martha’s plot of land to create space for more orphaned children.
Building the Boys’ Quarters 2012
With the generous support of donations from friends, family, schools, rotary clubs and churches, from August 2011 to 2012 enough money was raised to build a small boys’ quarters on Martha’s plot of land.
This created enough space to welcome an additional 4 children to the home bringing the total to 8 boys. The boys and Martha live as one family. Every child goes to school, has good health-care, eats a nutritious and balanced diet and most importantly – feels loved.
The Second Home and Third Home
In August 2013 we met Zoe Giarraputo, a social worker from Australia. Zoe was keen to get involved so she teamed up with us to help expand the project. During this month, our second foster mother Bertha welcomed five foster children into her home. Bertha treats the children as her own, living together as a family. Being both skilled and passionate about the work she does, Zoe was instrumental in beginning the second Foster Care Home. Zoe now lives in the UK and continues to work alongside Katie as an active voluntary member of our team. The third home began in November 2015 when Getrude welcomed into her own house a family of children, who had been living alone without any adult support for some time. We now support seventeen children within our three foster care homes.
Since the HIV pandemic in Malawi, sadly it is the elderly that have born the burden of caring for their sick and dying children, and then having to care for their orphaned grand-children. Many of the elderly are very fragile and struggle to care for themselves. Basics such as soap and blankets are considered a luxury, with many of the elderly sleeping under empty maize sacks at night for warmth.
Malawi Foster Care’s primary focus is to support orphaned children in foster care families, however, we do also work regularly alongside the chief of the surrounding villages in providing some care packages for the elderly. As well as providing care packages for the most needy, we also support one frail grandmother who is the sole carer of her baby grandchild. Martha does a monthly trip to the village and provides the grandma with powdered milk and other necessities.
Each care package includes: blankets, a chitenge, vaseline, soap, sugar and salt.
Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries where many orphaned children live in extreme poverty. For as long as we have sponsorship, we will aim to help as many orphaned children as we have the capacity to manage. The more sponsorship we have, the more children we can support.
In August 2016 we aim to start our fourth foster care home in Area 49 Lilongwe, giving four more orphaned children a chance of a foster care experience. These children will have the opportunity to live with a family, go to school, access healthcare and eat a nutritious diet. These are small basic needs that we often take for granted, but for the children we support, are a dream come true.
Malawi Foster Care is a small grassroots charity, we are all volunteers, and the children are at the centre of everything we do. All of our foster children, foster mothers, sponsors and regular donors are vey important to us and being a small charity allows for a very personable experience for everyone involved. We have a a solid foundation and the capacity to grow sustainably and as such we are looking for more sponsors to continue to the work we do.
If you think you may be interested in sponsoring a child, please read through the section ‘Sponsor a Child’ and make contact, we would love to hear from you!
We guarantee that 100% of your donation will go directly to supporting your child!
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