Nkhotakota, Malawi … Mdyankhanga Community Based Organization is located in the Northern part of the Nkhotakota lakeshore district of Malawi. Traditional Authority Kanyenda, is the tribal authority in the region. The CBO is an all-volunteer , community organization attempting to serve 13,540 people from 38 villages. Those in need include orphans, the elderly, the physically challenged, and those living with HIV/AIDS.
With an influx of support from World Emergency Relief, Mobility Ministries, and the Malawi Project, hundreds of orphans, aged, and physically challenged people recently received assistance ranging from clothes, bicycles, and mobility units, as well as medical supplies for the Chidebwe Clinic, located near the CBO.
During the distribution, group village headman Lowani addressed the crowd with a message about the timeliness of the support. “We have a wide range of problems in this area. We have more orphaned children who lack support – we have single parents looking after over 10 children. We have children caring for children. Our clinic runs without essential medical supplies. With this support of clothes for example, it will mean more children will be able to attend classes”.
The area has no hospital, and is served by only a small clinic that the community built themselves. It serves as an under-five Clinic. The nearest health facility that can provide a range of added services is the Ngala Health centre. It is 15 kilometers east of the CBO over the mountains. According to the traditional leader, people cannot easily access these services because of the long distance to the facility. “People actually die on the way to the health facility because we don’t have means of transportation to get to the hospital on time.”
The main hospital is even farther away at 93 kilometers (57 miles) to the south.
According to Wilson Tembo with the Malawi Project, “In a desperate effort to help these innocent people and children, we donated a bicycle to the clinic to be used as an ambulance for people to cycle the hilly dust road to the nearest health centre.”
Tembo reported, “Two other bicycles have been given to the leadership of the Community Based Organization to help serve the community better. The village development committee chair person has also been given a bicycle to help him work with the CBO in spear heading development programs in the area.
In his remarks Robert Chilemba, who leads the group, noted the aid to his organization will make a huge impact to the people in the area. “This donation cannot be under estimated. We highly value the help rendered to these people,” he noted.
Tembo adds, “A total of 100 drip irrigation kits have been donated to the group. These will support two of the group’s activities, a farm club and a HIV/AIDS support group. HIV/AIDS positive members will be able to plant vegetables / greens and medicinal plants using these kits during this dry season.”
One of the support group members, Mwale extended his thanks to the Malawi Project for sponsoring him to be trained in medicinal plants early this year.“That training was an eye opener to me and my fellow members. The lessons have helped us to improve on our health and wellbeing”.
Maria Phiri is one of the children who received clothes, (pictured in front of the group) hails from Chitudzu village nearby. Maria lives with a single parent – her mother. She says getting clothes and other necessities is a big challenge that her mother cannot manage to provide. “I am thankful for this donation of clothes. Thank You!” she said with a smile.
Tembo concluded, “Over 500 orphan children, aged and physically challenged people received clothes during this one particular time of distribution.”