Consol Homes Orphan Care
Promoting community participation in the care and support of orphans and other vulnerable children for social, educational and economic advancement
With around 16% of people in Malawi aged between 15-49yrs infected with HIV/AIDS, the number of children orphaned by the disease is growing every day. Estimates in 2003 put the number at 500,000. The total number of orphans in the country is believed to be closer to 1 million. Many of these orphans are being cared for by relatives already experiencing severe economic hardship and child-headed households are becoming increasingly common.
Established in 2000 by community members from Kalolo, central Malawi, Consol Homes is an award-winning community-based organisation that aims to support and address the needs of the growing number of orphans and other vulnerable children in Malawi.
It was becoming increasingly apparent to us that many children in our communities, with the loss of one or both of their parents were experiencing extreme difficulties in adapting to their new circumstances, whether this was as primary breadwinners for their family or as carers for sick relatives. At the same time, many guardians looking after orphaned children - often elderly grandparents - were struggling to cope with their extra responsibilities as surrogate parents.
Seeking to support both orphans and their carers we opened our first Child Care Centre (CCC) in Kalolo village in 2000. Taking the first bold steps to support Consol Homes in its early development, the Canadian Government provided vital financial assistance for the construction of the centre at Kalolo (as well as a new Child Care Centre and HealthCare facility at Khomela), and with the hard labour of our community members, the centre and its initial team of 7 locally recruited volunteers successfully initiated programmes to assist with the care and support of over 60 children.
Initially working to assist single parents, guardians and orphans through the development of parenting skills, over the last six years, our organisation has expanded to provide a more comprehensive, integrated response to the needs of the communities we work with. We currently operate in T.A (Traditional Authority) Kalolo (Lilongwe District) and T.A Makwangwala (Ntchewu District) where we have implemented an integrated programme of psychosocial training and support for guardians and orphans affected by HIV/AIDS, recreation and education support, Community Home Based Care (CHBC) for the chronically sick, pre-school development programmes, as well as income generation schemes and vocational training. We also run feeding programmes for children at risk from malnourishment.
With the help of an ever-growing network of volunteers, young and old, our community support programmes currently provide care, support and guidance to over 20,000 children, through 101 centres located throughout central and southern Malawi. In addition to this we are supporting over 500 students annually through their secondary and tertiary education.