Why Malawi?

“Malawi is one of the poorest countries globally with alarmingly high poverty levels. Although a majority of the poor live in rural areas, urban poverty is also high. Malawi’s children face a difficult future with over two thirds of them deprived of basic facilities which include access to education, health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene. Malawi ranks 170 out of 188 countries in the 2016 Human Development Report. These severe poverty levels have serious consequences for children and women.”  (Unicef:  https://www.unicef.org/malawi/about-us)

Source: visited Oct 2021 https://www.unicef.org/malawi/about-us

“Although large gains have been realized in reducing stunting, UNICEF remains concerned that 37 per cent of children below the age of five years are stunted. In addition, the prevalence of exclusive breast feeding has declined to 61% in 2015/16 from 72% in 2010. This is compounded by a sharp rise in the proportion (92%) of children aged 6–23 months whose diets fail to reach the minimum acceptable quality, up from 81% in 2010. Malnutrition is a leading cause of infant and child mortality in Malawi and acute malnutrition is a major risk factor for child mortality[1]. Furthermore, anaemia is still a concern as it affects 28% of preschool children (22% have iron deficiency), while zinc deficiency is prevalent in 60% of the children. 

Nearly half of all deaths in children under 5 are attributable to undernutrition; undernutrition puts children at greater risk of dying from common infections, increases the frequency and severity of such infections, and delays recovery.”   (Unicef: https://www.unicef.org/malawi/pillar-1-early-childhood)

In Malawi, people live what is called a subsistence lifestyle, where they rely on the land and the weather for the small amount of food they grow for themselves. Donna and Julie visited Malawi in May 2017, and understood for the first time that they only harvest their food for a third of the year, roughly from April to July. So for 2 thirds of the year, they don’t harvest any crops – they don’t get new food. For us, that would be like all the grocery shops like Coles, Woollies, Aldi and even online shops would only be open from April to July.

Our kindergarten lunches provide food security for these particular kids who at times have very little or nothing to eat. Our donors enable the children to enjoy regular, nutritious lunches that fill up their tummies and they also empower the children long term with early years education through school readiness. The kindergartens are started, built and run by the village community themselves which gives them enormous pride and hope and improves community attitudes to education.

Early years education is very difficult to access for underserved communities in remote areas. This village-run, decentralised kindergarten model is a cost-effective strategy to raise the standard of living for not only the children but the community and country at large.