PRACTICAL ASSISTANCE FOR DISADVANTAGED CHILDREN IN MALAWI AND THEIR FAMILIES

Wheelchairs for children

Fredson's story

Manesi's story

Ongoing support for their families

What you could do to help

What you could do to help

What you could do to help

ChildCare Malawi was established in 2012 to alleviate the suffering of

Malawian children with conditions such as clubfoot, cerebral palsy, spina bifida and hydrocephalus who desperately need wheelchairs. Although there is a sporadic supply of wheelchairs from overseas donors, they are often not robust enough to withstand the rigours of the rough terrain in Africa and cannot always be repaired locally if faults develop.

Made-to-measure wheelchairs for children can only be made at the Orthopaedic Centre workshop at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH)
in Blantyre. As there is no government funding available for this service, numerous children whose families are unable to pay for a wheelchair have to manage without and find it difficult to attend school. Blantyre is in the far south of the country, so those who live in the central and northern regions are faced with additional challenges due to the cost of public transport.

ChildCare Malawi’s primary objective is to reduce the number of disabled children currently languishing on waiting lists for wheelchairs, with priority being given to those of school age whose homes and schools are, or can easily be made, wheelchair accessible. Our wheelchairs are loaned to the recipients for as long as required, but will remain the property of ChildCare Malawi to ensure that they are regularly reconditioned at the workshop for reuse and the stock is gradually increased.

ChildCare Malawi sees education as the most effective way of breaking the demoralising, repetitive cycle of abject poverty, while also recognising that a holistic approach is required to enable children to attend school. Having provided disabled children with suitable wheelchairs, we create individual support packages for their families and closely monitor their progress.

We firmly believe in continuity of care and the importance of supporting all the children in a family rather than focusing exclusively on one child, which could result in sibling rivalry. Many of the most disadvantaged families simply cannot afford the extra costs associated with sending their children to school, even if their disabled child receives a wheelchair, so we assist with the basic essentials, including shoes, uniforms and educational materials. In cases where children are doing well academically, we provide extra tuition fees in order to give them a better chance of being selected for secondary school.

As entire families benefit significantly from improved living standards if they can increase their household earnings, ChildCare Malawi also supplies fuel-efficient cooking stoves; solar lights, which are invaluable in areas with no electricity; and small business grants, as appropriate, to give families an opportunity to start building a better future for themselves.

A donation of £100 would cover the cost of a bespoke wheelchair for a disabled child and their travelling expenses to the workshop in Blantyre, which is the only facility in the entire country currently providing this service.

 

An annual donation of £20 would provide a child at primary school with shoes, school uniform and educational materials for three terms.

 

An annual donation of £12 would provide a pre-school child with shoes and clothes for a year.

 

A donation of £40 would allow a family to purchase two portable solar lights, one of which can also be used as a torch, and a basic mobile phone.

 

A donation of £30 would enable a family to establish or expand a small business venture and increase their household earnings.

A donation of £100 would cover the cost of a bespoke wheelchair for another disabled child and their travelling expenses to the workshop in Blantyre, which is the only facility in the entire country providing this service.

A donation of £100 would cover the cost of a bespoke wheelchair for another disabled child and their travelling expenses to the workshop in Blantyre, which is the only facility in the entire country providing this service.

Fredson lives with his parents and four siblings in Zomba, a town in the southern region of Malawi. Born with spina bifida and bilateral clubfeet, which have sadly remained untreated, Fredson is remarkably agile when moving around on his knees, but unable to walk. His mother has often had to carry him on her back, particularly to and from school, which is nearly half an hour away from their home.

The first recipient of ChildCare Malawi funding, Fredson now has a smart bespoke wheelchair, complete with a removable board that can be used as a table or a desk and ongoing sponsorship for his family. He is determined to maintain his position near the top of his class at school.

“I was worried that I might have to stop going to school, but now my friends can push me in the wheelchair.

We had never heard of solar lights before, but they are brilliant! My parents are saving money because they no longer have to buy kerosene for lamps and my siblings and I can do our homework without our eyes hurting or getting black bits in our noses.”              FREDSON

“I am so grateful for this wheelchair,” says Manesi’s aunt. “It is a safer place for her to sit while I am busy doing my daily activities and it makes it so much easier for us to get around. Manesi is getting too heavy for me to carry her on my back and she doesn’t like having to be treated like a baby.”

Manesi lives with her aunt, uncle and two cousins in Zomba, a town in the southern region of Malawi. She has quadriplegic cerebral palsy (CP) which, apart from paralysis in all four limbs, has also resulted in her being deaf and unable to speak, walk or attend school.

The second recipient of ChildCare Malawi funding, Manesi now has a smart bespoke wheelchair, complete with a removable board that she can use as a table at mealtimes, and ongoing sponsorship for her family.

Charitable status

ChildCare Malawi is unable to register with the Charity Commission because our annual income is less than £5,000. However, we are registered as
a Small Charity with HMRC, which entitles us to claim Gift Aid on eligible donations.

 

Picture credits

All images are copyright of
their owners and must not be used for any reason without prior written authorisation.

Main page

Top left and bottom left:

© Langsfield Mwahimba.

All other photos on this page:

© Joyce Maunde.

First row of case studies

Left and centre: © Jenny Thomas.

 Right: © Langsfield Mwahimba.

Second row of case studies

Left and right: © Gilbert Chimpanzi.

Centre: © Joyce Maunde.

 

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