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Habitat for Humanity Malawi launches OVC program

January 20, 2010

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A symbolic house tied with a ribbon to mark the launch.

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Part of the people that came to the launch.


MKANDO, MALAWI.
– On 20th January 2010, Habitat for Humanity Malawi (HFHM) launched their Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children Program in Mkando in the Mulanje district.

Gracing the occasion was the Deputy Minister of Lands and Urban Development, honourable Thom Gowelo. The Minister of Gender, Child and Community Development, honourable Patricia Kaliati, also attended the event.

Mr. Gowelo commended the good work Habitat for Humanity is doing in Malawi.

He also praised HFHM for coming up with a project that is targeting orphans in Malawi.

He asked other non-governmental organizations working in Malawi to emulate the good example shown by HFHM. Concurring with Gowelo, Ms. Kaliati said that government is very pleased with the development and that they will work with HFHM to make sure that the intended children are benefiting from the project.

She also thanked HFHM for choosing Mulanje as a pilot area, as there are a lot of orphans in the area due to a high HIV prevalence rate.

“Mulanje is one of the districts that have been hard hit by HIV/AIDS and most of the orphans we have are due to HIV/AIDS related illness. They are either being left to be taken care of by their old grandparents or fellow youths. If you look at such families, they cannot even afford to put a roof on their houses, let alone build a decent home. For this reason, let us appreciate what Habitat for Humanity is doing,” said Kaliati.

Why OVC is necessary in Malawi

Malawi is facing an increasing number of orphans and vulnerable children as a result of the HIV/AIDS crisis that is compounded by poverty and food insecurity. The prevalence of HIV infection among adults has stabilized at around 12 percent since 1997, although the absolute numbers of people living with HIV and AIDS is still increasing. AIDS accounts for some 70% of hospital deaths. Many people between the ages of 15 and 49 years are being infected with HIV and AIDS and dying, living children and the elderly who are unable to support themselves. HFHM decided to intervene by coming up with an Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) program. An OVC is defined as a child under the age of 18 years old who has lost either a mother or father or both parents, or whose caregiver is unable to provide adequate care, such as elderly grandparent, child-headed household and disabled caregiver.