­Njewa, located in Lilongwe, Malawi

Njewa community profile

Most of the people living in Njewa are small farmers, growing just enough for their own families. Poverty makes progress difficult and many times the crops barely provide enough food for the people in the community. There is no electricity and safe water is hard to find. While there is safe water deep beneath the ground, the cost of digging the borehole is just too high for the community to support. Disease frequently attacks the children and their parents. This is not surprising, as there are almost no sanitation facilities and health clinics are few and far between.

Few people have learned to read and write — more than 85% of the people in the community are illiterate. Schools are expensive and the families are unable to pay the fees required to send their children to school. As a result, there are few schools in the area.

Because of the lack of education facilities, few people in the community understand HIV/AIDS. They have not been taught and have no way of knowing the cause and effect of the disease that is killing many of their people.

Poverty is high. The farmers have no money to invest in learning new farming methods and therefore, their crops are small and few farmers even earn a living from the work they do. Unemployment is high — there are few jobs for the people. Work has begun to introduce new industries such as raising chickens, pigs and goats and carpentry. But the economy is very weak.

Hunger, lack of employment and desperate poverty have forced children into selling their bodies to get just a little food for their families. As a result, the HIV/AIDS rates are as high as 25%. The impact? 850 children are orphans, vulnerable and alone. 1200 people live with AIDS.

Right now, 11 churches are working together to reach out to the children and those with HIV/AIDS. They are helping in many different ways. Yet there is so much to do.

The needs in the community

  • Roofing of houses for orphans and vulnerable children
  • Home based care
  • Food security through small gardens and community gardens (seeds and fertilizers)
  • New farm implements and farmer training
  • Feeding program resources
  • Education for street children
  • Adult literacy programs
  • Early childhood development programs
  • Nutrition for those under 8 years old
  • Gender program – against violence and abuse
  • Advocacy program for church leadership

What we are doing

  • Purchasing home-based care training kits, mosquito nets and basic medical supplies to send to home-based care patients
  • Training home-based care volunteers
  • Supplying nutritional food packs to widows and orphaned and vulnerable children
  • Supplying rocket stoves to widows (stoves that use very little wood for fuel)
  • Sending children to school by supplying school fees, uniforms and school supplies
  • Beginning animal farming in three zones
  • Beginning income-generating activities for widows including sewing, soap making, and tie dying
  • Rehabilitating widows homes
  • Purchasing doors and doorframes for some widows homes
  • Supplying seeds, hoes and cans for community gardens
  • Supplying mats and blankets to orphaned and vulnerable children
  • Transporting patients to clinics and hospitals