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As we approach the holiday season, the Malawi Washington Association (MWA) would like to appeal to your hearts and generosity for a Season Appeal. This appeal is in support of an orphanage, which houses some of the children orphaned by the AIDS pandemic in Malawi, Southern Africa.
The Malawi Washington Association is a duly chartered, non-political and non-profit organization based in Washington, DC. One of the objectives of the organization is to finance non-political projects that contribute to the development of Malawi. This year, we are raising funds to help needy children who have lost their parents because of the AIDS crisis in Malawi. The Mchinji Mission Orphanage is the designated recipient of these funds. We chose this particular orphanage because of its effective program in addressing the issues of these AIDS orphans and its high degree of accountability. MWA has full faith and confidence that any funds sent to the orphanage will be used to this end. Below is a brief background of the Mchinji Mission Orphanage.
Founded by the Reverend Thomas Chipeta, this orphanage is located in the Central Region of Malawi, in the town of Mchinji. The mission supports 185 orphans who range between birth and 15 years, 35 of whom are under two years old. Housed at the orphanage, the orphans are given nutritious food, clothing, spiritual nurturing and counseling, as well as education. The education is threefold - divided into vocational, literacy and skills-based education. Forty-three children attend private mission schools in the area and have their tuition paid by the orphanage. The mission has also negotiated allowances for 19 older children to attend government schools at a discount. All funds received under this drive will be sent to Graham Carr (Malawi), Chartered Public Accountants, who maintain the financial records of the orphanage.
We appeal to you to favorably consider and donate funds to MWA’s Season Appeal – an effort to help alleviate the plight and suffering of AIDS orphans in Malawi. Please make checks payable to the Malawi Washington Association and address queries to Cassandra de Souza at (202) 488-1383.
President, Malawi Washington Association
Brief Synopsis of the HIV/AIDS Situation in Malawi
Estimated Figures from the end of 1999:
Adults and children living with HIV/AIDS 800,000
HIV prevalence rate among adults aged 15-49 15.96%
Adults and children who died from AIDS in 1999 70,000
Current living orphans 275,539
The first diagnosed and reported case of AIDS in Malawi was in 1985. Since then, the country has faced exponential increases in the number of people infected, suffering from, and dying of AIDS and HIV-related infections. Officially, between 1985 and 1998, the overall reported cases of AIDS was 52,856. However, this figure is deceptively low since many cases remain undetected and unreported due to the stigma associated with the disease. In 2000, the National AIDS Control Programme of Malawi (NACP) estimated that 50-70 percent of adult in-patients in the hospitals were suffering from AIDS-related illnesses and the HIV-prevalence rate rose to 16.4 percent.
Since the onset of the AIDS pandemic in Malawi, approximately 390,000 children under the age of 15 have lost their mother or both parents to AIDS. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that approximately 6 percent of Malawian children are double and maternal orphans (UNICEF, 1999). The growth in the orphan population in recent years has been a direct result of the increased number of adults infected by HIV/AIDS. The NACP estimates that there were 210,000 orphans in 1998 and 500,000 in 2000 (NACP, 2000). Based on these and other figures, NACP estimates that the orphan population in Malawi in 2000 was 1.2 million.
The orphan population due to AIDS will continue to rise at the rate of 70,000 orphans per year, based on the following factors:
Poverty in Malawi is widespread, with 60 percent of all rural households living below the poverty line. This poverty exacerbates the issue of dealing with AIDS orphans. The traditional extended family system is heavily overburdened and deteriorating rapidly because it cannot handle such large numbers of orphans, as well as the increased AIDS-related mortality rates and worsening economic situation in Malawi. After the death of their parents, orphans are placed in different households with their relatives; but an increasing number are now cared for by grandparents and older siblings, who are very often in need of support and care themselves.
With the establishment of a Multi-Sectoral National Task Force on Orphans in 1991, Malawi was one of the first countries to develop and implement a comprehensive, orphan care program in response to the AIDS pandemic. In 1992, the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Community Services followed this with the issuance of policy guidelines for the care of orphans and coordination of assistance. By the end of 1999, more than 20 non-governmental organizations had orphan-support programs and activities, with the government acting as the coordinator and regulator of these programs. The non-governmental organizations offer a range of services for orphans, including orphan care, advocacy of orphan and human rights, education, counseling, income-generating activities, skills training, and HIV/AIDS education.
Orphan estimates for Malawi between 1990 and 2010(a)
(a)Estimates obtained from Children on the Brink 2000.