By any account, Malawi, Africa is one of the most impoverished countries in the world—considered by some to be the fourth poorest nation. The problems the people of Malawi face are complex, multi-faceted and inter-connected. The statistics are staggering and difficult for those of us who live in countries from the other end of the spectrum to even fathom:
A population of 14 million people 1 million orphans 4th poorest country in world Average person earns less than $1 a day 70% unemployment 85% live as subsistence farmers Average life expectancy is 38 14% of population infected with HIV/AIDS
Behind those statistics are real people, suffering from the effects of extreme poverty.At Villages in Partnership, we seek to be in community with villages in Malawi where people are ready and willing to work hard to raise their circumstances, but are in need of partners who can come along side of them, to share their burdens and work with them to make a difference in each other’s lives. We’ve identified a region in Malawi called Sakata that fits the bill, and with whom we have already begun to partner.
Sakata is a collection of 21 rural villages. Sakata is located in southeast Malawi, near the city of Zomba, and has a population of approximately 10,000 people. Nearly all of the villagers are subsistence farmers who eat what they’re able grow, with little if any income or other means to buy additional food or other items. It is a microcosm of what is going on throughout Malawi—with a staggering number of orphans and child-led households; a lack of access to clean water, adequate medical care, or a meaningful education; and many people suffering from hunger and poor nutrition, living on the edge and subject to the whims of nature and the risk of having too little or too much rain. Although other aid groups are working in many parts of Malawi, the villages of Sakata had been left to struggle on their own, without outside assistance.
Yet, the people of Sakata are a resourceful and determined group. Even before we came on the scene, a core group of villagers had already begun to do what they could to help the most vulnerable people in their community. They had organized a preschool for orphans, which they were running out of small, dilapidated building. They had also started making bricks to construct a new building to house the preschool and a medical clinic, with the hope and faith that someone would come along with the resources needed to help turn their dreams into reality. We believe that God had made a divine appointment to bring us into contact with them.