[Note: This page was written several years ago. Pastor Duncan was not able to get funding to support his orphan, and had to abandon first one location and then another. He was very discouraged. I've tried, as I had small snatches of time, to track down some advocate agency that might help him and his church, to at least feed the orphans regularly. So far none have replied to my emails. It is hard - especially when he writes to say the orphans have not eaten in three days. If you should want to help in one needy place in the world, you would make a lot of us glad if you chose to help Pastor Duncan and the orphans.]
Pastor Duncan Nyozani has been introducing his orphanage in Malawi, West Africa to me. What impressed me first was that this man is not only passionate about helping his orphans, but he is articulate and has thought through some important dyamics about raising funds for the orphanage Instead of always holding out a hand for support from "rich Americans", Pastor Duncan would just like enough help to start up some enterprises that the orphans could handle. Then over some time they could be a self-sustaining ministry.
I have to admire that! It's the way that poor Canadians, North Americans like me, have to struggle to get ahead. True, our starting ground might be a bit more level here, but I rejoice when I see this kind of "noble ambition" to use creative ideas and hard work to get ahead. Such people DO get ahead! If they persevere long enough they will get ahead!
It's much more fun to help such a worthy cause - isn't it?
So, do you want to know a bit more about their needs and Duncan's vision?
Searchlight Orphan Care was founded in 2002 in the Phalombe district of Malawi, and there mostly in the Kambona and environs. Particularly, they have an orphanage in the village of Msema called the "Far and Wide Children's Home." They are registered with their government. But that does not undo the extreme poverty in the land, and how widespread infection of HIV and Aids which turns so many innocent children into orphans., nor the fact that 64,000 children under 5 die each year. Then there is the malaria and other diseases that weaken and take away lives. When you throw poverty, disease and lack of education together, it is no wonder that it is hard for the children to get off the treadmill of despair without some outside help.
It makes Pastor Duncan all the more unique to have the vision and goals he does.
His goals are;
To offer children the opportunity of education.
To provide care and help for orphans in the community.
To work with the community to tackle issues such as child mortality.
To build a community spirit and an increased sense of belonging for children.
Searchlight Orphan Care already has large gardens that they cultivate to provide food and income. They also welcome volunteers who want to come and work alongside of the orphans and workers for a while. In fact, they've gone out of their way to organize and prepare for such volunteers from all over the world.
Pastor Duncan is looking for four types of volunteers for specific roles.
Can you see yourself in one of these?
1. A school teacher - teaching in English, subjects such as maths, chemistry, physics, computer science and geography. You would be encouraged to play with the children in extra-curricular activities such as arts, music, football, and other sports. You could also help them with homework and tutor those who have more difficulty learning. They use the Australian primary and secondary school system, but even if you have no experience with that curriculum, you would be able to work as an assistant until you feel ready to take a class on your own.
2. Orphan/child Care - not teaching formally, but helping to care for the children in the Far and Wide Children's Home, and cooking for them, and relating to them one on one, and in small groups, giving them the kind of love and encouragement they should get in a healthy family.
3. Health Care Workers - not necessarily a medical nurse or doctor, but well-versed in health issues and able to teach in the Mothers and Babies Health Centre they have in Msema. You would find yourself giving dietary education, advising on growing and cooking healthy food, and about hygiene and sanitation. You might even help them set up some income-generating plans so the mothers can raise their families - often on their own. It would involve lots of one-on-one time, sharing stories, and being an emotional and spiritual encouragement to the mothers and their children.
4. Medical Volunteers - would be placed in governmental health clinics in places like Migowi and Kalinde. No doubt you would be warmly received for your extra skills!
They have worked out homes that would give you a place to live. However, being a guest would put a strain on the host family's budget, so you would be charged some rental or boading and food expenses. On the other hand they would go out of their way to take you to see some of their tourist sights too, in case you want to combine your volunteer term with a vacation. They would be very glad to have you for whatever length of time you are prepared to give them.
With my past experiences in childrens' ministries in several churches, I think I could really enjoy a few weeks with those children. Maybe it will even happen one day. I would really like to size up their situation and needs more close up and real. Still, even at this distance, I sense that they could always use gifts of money, and that they would be sensible and wise about how those gifts are spent.
In fact, I think I'd like to add a fifth type of volunteer to recruit to go there. Let's see. . . . perhaps that could look like this;
5. Entrepreneur/Small Business Owner and Mentor - someone with some experience starting small businesses and with some ability to start from scratch with creativity and resourcefulness. Some farming experience could be useful, but also great would be someone who knows how to start and run a business from a computer. There is so much potential in that direction! The people are likely very creative with the hands, so setting up an internet marketing system for their arts and crafts would be a truly useful step too.
If you would like to send them some help or apply to go as a volunteer to help out for a while, you should contact them via their website, SearchlightMalawi.