Alinafe didn’t know what to do. Her sister, who had just given birth to her seventh child, had died. Now the child’s guardian, Alinafe’s grief was compounded with worry about affording formula to keep her newborn niece healthy. She knew others in her community who had lost children due to hunger.
Then, Alinafe heard about Mulanje Mission Hospital, a PWS&D-supported health centre that has stayed open to care for orphans despite COVID-19. Determined to find out what help was available, Alinafe walked with her late sister’s child 20 kilometres to the hospital doors.
“I couldn’t believe what I saw.”
At Mulanje Mission Hospital, Alinafe was quickly interviewed in a safe environment, with precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. She was shocked to receive a supply of formula for her niece at no cost to her. “I even asked if am supposed to pay, but I was told it is free milk.”
When she arrived back home, Alinafe shared her gratitude with everyone around her: “People didn’t believe it. The milk for the baby was a great relief.”
From Generation to Generation
Alinafe’s story is just one example of how poverty affects more than one generation.
In countries with poor access to schooling for girls or to sexual and reproductive health care, adolescent girls may give birth before their own bodies are fully developed, and many women don’t have the ability to decide how long to wait between pregnancies. It can be difficult to provide food for the whole family in these situations, especially if several children are infants. Mothers are at risk of becoming sick or dying due to complications from delivery, leaving their children in precarious situations.
PWS&D has been working to break this cycle by advocating for women’s rights, increasing access to family planning methods and providing trained support before, during and after birth.
PWS&D is also responding to the needs of orphans in Malawi through Mulanje Mission Hospital. In the first six months of 2020, 341 orphans and vulnerable children received support through nutritional programs, health care, the provision of school uniforms and supplies, and soap and other safety supports for COVID-19.
To make a donation in support of our ongoing work with orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi, click below or call us at 1-800-619-7301 or 416-441-1111 x291.