ABOUT MALAWI

The Chisomo Idea serves in the country of Malawi in South East Africa.  Below are some facts you may want to know about Malawi but before you do, we want you to know that we believe with all our hearts that the Malawian people are some of the most resilient people in the world.  Despite all that they go through on a day to day basis they still remain loving and kind.  In fact, it is that kindness that has earned the Malawian nation the nickname The warm heart of Africa.

Malawi is known as the Warm Heart of Africa because of it’s friendly welcoming culture of hospitality. Malawians are incredibly resourceful with the local land and known to foster creative business entrepreneurs. The culture is community centric with a heart of generosity. We encourage travelers to experience the beauty found within Malawi’s communities that are materially impoverished but rich in many different currencies.

  • Malawi is currently the most materially poor country in the world
  • It has a population of approximately 17 million; of those 1 million are orphans.
  • Over 200 people die of AIDS each day.
  • Life expectancy is about 59 years old.
  • 48% of children in Malawi are chronically malnourished.
  • In the last decade maternal deaths in childbirth have increased by 100%. This figure is the third highest in the world, behind Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.
  • One in four children die before the age of five.
  • 7% of the population have electricity.
  • 42% of the population are illiterate.
  • 3.4% of the population complete secondary education. School life expectancy 11 yrs old.
  • 1% of the population go to University.
  • 3/4 Malawians live under the international poverty line; surviving on $1.25 a day.
  • 90% of the population revolves daily around growing maize to feed their families.
  • 1 in 11 are infected with HIV/AIDS; 50,000 die each year.
  • Every 30 seconds a child dies of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa and it cost only $1 to treat.

Our Current Communities

We serve in Malawian communities that are not only known to be some of the most materially impoverished, but also the most “at-risk”.  Most of our communities are not rural in nature, but rather are in close proximity to cities.  This extra population often creates increased obstacles for community residents.

Our Current Communities:

Lilongwe, MA Area: Chinsapo Community (click the + icon to learn more)

This is the main location where Chisomo Idea carries out its day to day operations, it is in the capital city Lilongwe. The community is a five minute drive away from one of the most affluent communities in Lilongwe. It is a diverse community with the poorest of the poor, some middle class families and a handful of economically affluent people who have built mansions in the community, not to help out but because land Is usually cheaper in poor communities.

Chinsapo has a 70% Muslim population, 10% traditional worshippers (gule wamkulu) and 20% Christian population. This has proven to be a challenge to serve, but despite everything God is always good. The community has one government hospital which mainly deals with AIDS patients only and that depends on, availability of medicine at the hospital. The community has some private hospitals, but 3/4s of the population can’t afford the services as most of them live below the poverty line. Most of the habitants have jobs in the capital, where they either work as security guards or nannies, but the income made does not suffice to cover day to day needs on a monthly basis.

Chinsapo is busiest at night, as it is highly saturated with bars and beer halls, which makes prostitution and drug abuse very high in this community. The levels of poverty make most of the girls vulnerable to HIV/AIDS which in turn translate to unwanted early pregnancies and school dropouts, early marriages are also very prevalent in this community. Also because of its geographical positioning, water is a challenge in the community, tap water mostly comes out if there’s any pressure at all. Because it is a very dry land, drilling boreholes doesn’t even work in Chinsapo.

All these factors led the Chisomo Idea to serve in this community, because despite the challenges, the need is greater. That is why we serve the community in a two tier approach, on the community and individual level, meeting four main needs, spiritual, social, intellectual and physical.

Blantyre, MA Area: Ndirande Community (click the + icon to learn more)

Ndirande is located in the commercial city of Blantyre in Malawi, central east of Africa. The township lies in between the Commercial business side of the city and the industrial site where they are factories.

The squatter township is characterized by shanty slums and poor sanitation, mainly due to overpopulation, and high rate of unemployment. Ndirande is also known as a little heaven for a soccer fanatic. It’s a home for the biggest top league soccer team, the Big Bullets.

Those that are well versed in politics claim that Ndirande is a King Maker; implying that if you align yourself with the Ndirande people your political career will simply excel, and the opposite is true.

Most of the people living in Ndirande are either doing small businesses or they work as assistant shop keeper in Indian shops, and most of them live for under a dollar per day.

“At Risk”

The following factors qualify Ndirande as at risk status:

Overpopulation and Unemployment

One of the biggest challenge the township faces is lack of space. The town is overpopulated and yet people are still flocking to live in the town because of its proximity to the city and industrial area. As a result of urbanization employment opportunities are few.

Water and Sanitation

Where there are too many people sanitation becomes a challenge. This has been a problem for decades.  The problem is attributed to general water problem in the city as well as lack of sensitization or civic education.

Sex Slavery and Prostitution

The Nyasa Times of Sep 23, 2014 reported a story of an under aged girl who was forced into commercial sex activity in one of the drinking bars in Ndirande. Today, if you go to Ndirande at night you will be shocked to see scores of under aged girls selling their bodies in exchange for money.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Abuse of drugs (marijuana) and alcohol is the order of the day especially for teenagers, worse still young girls. Ndirande is an outlet for most drugs and a source for local alcohol.

HIV/AIDS, ORPHANS, CHILD HEAEDED HOMES

Just like any other community in Malawi, Ndirande has not been spared when it comes to the issue of HIV/AIDS. This disease has left scars of hopelessness on many children who are now either raised by orphanages or in child headed homes. According to reports from the social welfare, Ndirande has the highest number of child headed homes in the Blantyre area.

Mzuzu, MA Area: Luwinga Community (click the + icon to learn more)

Luwinga is a  community within the industrial sector of a larger city called Mzuzu in the Northern part of the country.  It is a densely populated area that has a high number of people who come from low income households, child headed households and female headed households. For this reason the level of poverty is high; which means the rate of crime, prostitution, truancy, theft and other social evils run rampant, making it an at risk community.

Many of the young people in Luwinga come from families that can not afford to send their children to school. Because of this, often times, children attend primary school as it is free in Malawi, but then are unable to attend secondary school simply because their families finances do not permit.  In addition,  because of the absence of a father figure in many of the households children lack guidance and direction.  It makes it very easy for girls to be prone to unwanted pregnancy and early marriage.