Education is Life Changing

DSCN0215Education can change a life!! In Malawi finishing high school means that the graduate can secure employment to help their family. Unfortunately, only 13% of secondary school aged children actually attend secondary school, according to UNICEF’s Malawi Annual Report.

DSCN0218Education is very important to the leadership of Kanyenyeva Orphan Care Project. If they know that a student has not attended school for a few days they will go to that student’s home to find out why and what they can do to alleviate the problem. They know the importance of education. They know that education will not only help the children in their community find jobs but that an educated Malawian can help change their nation. P1060013

 

 

 

 

 

There are many obstacles to receiving an education in Malawi. One obstacle is money. The students are expected to bring their own supplies to use at school. Most students cannot afford pens, pencils, or paper.

High school is not free and most students cannot afford to pay tuition. These obstacles can be overcome. We can partner with these students. They know the importance of an education and will work hard to do their best.

Please consider donating to help with the educational fees for Malawian children. You can HELP THEM ACHIEVE THEIR VISION by donating to Malawi Orphan Care Project and designate your donation for education.

DSC_3661Your donations will be used for:

-School supplies for one student for a year: $25
-School uniform for one student: $30
-Tuition for a local high school student for a year: $150
-Tuition for boarding school for an orphaned or vulnerable girl: $1,500

Any size donation will help!

Click here to donate or send your tax deductible donation to:
Malawi Orphan Care Project
53 Park Ave. West
Mansfield, Ohio 44902

Food Scarcity in Malawi

eggThis is a typical meal in Malawi. The largest part of the meal is nsima which is made with corn meal and water. It has no nutritional value but it does help a person feel full. In a typical year there is enough food to last through most of the year and into the next growing season. The end of the growing season is called the hungry season because their food from the last harvest does not last until the next harvest.

This past growing season (2015 – 16) the hungry season started early. It started at the beginning of the growing season, around November, because in the 2014- 15 growing season the country of Malawi’s harvest was decreased by 35% due to lack of rains in some areas and floods in other areas.

The coming hungry season is anticipated to start even earlier. They expect the hungry season to start before the growing season starts. The latest harvest was 15% less than the previously smaller harvest.

DSC_0211This is a grim reality for millions of people in Malawi and elsewhere in Africa. From the beginning of the last growing season, around November, 2015, the orphan project doubled the number of children it feeds to around 800 children.

There is going to be a huge need for more food for the people of Malawi starting in the fall of 2016. Please consider donating now so we can be prepared when the hungry season starts. Please help keep the people of Malawi alive.

For more information read this article in the Guardian.com.

Sanitary pads will help keep girls in school

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EMPOWER

“Empower”. I recently learned a bit more about what that word means.

A little over a year ago, I attended a national conference for Parish Nurses and viewed a poster session about the Days for Girls program. (DFG)

DSC_0315Days for Girls is a program that aims to enable teenage girls in third-world countries to attend school every day that classes are in session. Sadly, this is not usually the case. Teenage girls stay home during their monthly menstrual period due to lack of sanitary products that can provide them with a sense of security to go out in public without fear of accidents and embarrassment. The girls become, quite literally, prisoners to their bodily functions. They miss school on a regular basis, and thus become continually behind in their lessons, trying to catch up with and compete with the boys. Women beyond school age face similar problems in going about their daily lives. They too often have to stay home and “hide” during their monthly periods.DSC_0135

Days for Girls is an International Program where volunteers sew sanitary kits to be given to both teenage girls and women. Each kit contains washable and reusable “shields” and “liners” that attach around a pair of panties using a snap. Also included in the kits are panties, zip lock bags for storage and washing, a bar of soap, and a washcloth. All kit contents come inside a cloth drawstring bag.

The DFG program concepts continued to fester in my heart and mind long after I returned from my conference. I felt that perhaps this program would be useful in Malawi, but this is a subject that we often don’t think or talk about. I wasn’t sure. To implement such a program even on a small scale, would require a great deal of coordination and education. I decided to bounce the idea off MOCP’s primary female contact in Malawi, Yami Chikoti. Yami is a member of the Kanyenyeva Orphan Care Ministries (KOCM) Board and works directly with the villagers and village committee in the area of Kanyenyeva where MOCP has been working over the past 10 years.

Yami’s response was an overwhelming and enthusiastic “YES”!! The program would most definitely be welcomed!! Further discussions revealed the need for basic education about female anatomy and reproduction. We would also need to explain the basic usage of such things as panties and snaps! Could the local women be taught to sew additional liners? Would the required fabrics be available locally? How can we teach to sew products in a location without even a table to cut the fabric on? Would the treadle sewing machines even work?

DSC_0349After weeks of prayer, I felt that God was telling me to simply go forward. He would be with us guiding our steps. Details would work themselves out. Do not be afraid.

My fears were taken away and replaced with a reverent joy as I watched the women and girls eagerly learn about the program and immediately want to start right in making more liners! My husband and his engineering students from North Central State College quickly built us a table with dual purpose benches serving as the supports. My sister, Debby Bonte, came along and helped with the sewing instruction. Our initial kits were sewn as a combined effort of Days for Girls programs in Phoenix, AZ, Yellow Springs, Ohio, and members of the First English Lutheran Church in Mansfield, OH.

DSC_0172The girls and women were most definitely EMPOWERED!! It was both humbling and heart warming to watch and listen as they immediately joined together in a song and dance of thanksgiving! One of the village elders also spoke with the girls reminding them what a precious gift had just been given to them. She spoke about how she, and many others before her, went their entire lives without such an opportunity to live their lives every day of the month.

Yami has asked that MOCP try to continue and grow the program to include all of Malawi! KOCM will work with us to find local representatives to help educate the women and distribute the products. God has more plans for us!

If you would like to get involved, either by forming a local sewing group, or by donating funds to purchase items such as the panties and soap, or to help pay for transportation costs, please contact me directly. I am also looking into grant and vendor funding to assist us as we carry this project forward.

Please keep the women and girls in Malawi in your prayers!

Contact: Penny Ekegren, MOCP Secretary

53 Park Ave West, Mansfield, Ohio 44902

Email: penny@ekegrens.com

Cell phone: 419-631-7151

Mission Trip 2016

DSCN8009This mission team has started their journey to Malawi. They should arrive in Malawi on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. Their first day at the orphan project will be on the 25th of May where they will lead a football (soccer) camp where they will teach football skills and share the gospel with the children. They also plan to help with the feeding program, visit some of the businesses that the Kanyenyeva Ministries has started, and learn about life in Malawi. They plan to return to the US on June 7.

Please pray for Pastor Andy, Egypt, Haley, Sarah, Angie, James, and Mitchell for safety during their trip, for relationships to continue to be developed with the people of Malawi, for God’s will to be done, for everyone to have fun, and for God to be glorified in all that is done.