The Malawi Children's Village (MCV), located on the southern tip of Lake Malawi is a village based orphan support program in 39 villages supporting caregivers and grandparent who have taken an orphan or vulnerable child to their home. For most of these orphans, their parents have died from the complication of AIDS. Three thousand orphans or vulnerable children are enrolled in the program.
This is a purely subsistence culture. An orphan is another mouth to feed, water to drink and clothes to wear. This is an exclusively subsistence society. If you do not raise or collect your food you go hungry. There is no government support.
Consequently Malawians in the area with the support of the Limbe Rotary Club began a program over 20 years ago to assist these families -extra maize, and seeds, clothes, a dry roof, health care , school fees.
The USA MCV Foundation Board (501c3 non-profit) was established for fundraising and assist on policy issues. Four members are from Anchorage. The program has also received support for special projects from the International Rotary Foundation.
Anchorage has been very supportive of this program. Close to 400 Alaskan's have been to MCV to work with their programs or build Village Housing for orphan families. Several local Rotary clubs also have been very helpful including the Palmer Rotary Club that sent members over to build village housing. Both APU and the international baccalaureate program at West High have sent work/study teams to MCV.
Six primary schools in Anchorage have sister schools in the catchment area and have been very active in supporting those schools.
Secondary education is not free. School fees are required for government and non-government schools. In the past we supported those orphans who were eligible to go to boarding schools, however there were enough that a decision was made to build Gracious Secondary School. It accepts self-pay students and all the orphans who are eligible have their way paid by the Foundation Board.
The education program has developed an excellent reputation and the passing rate for the exit exams are the highest of any of the schools in that part of the country. It has been especially successful with girls' education. Not only do they graduate but increasing numbers are becoming eligible to go on to college or technical training schools. There are over 240 girls in the school of over 450 students.
The school has been successful because of excellent teachers. Our handicap has been the risk of losing these teachers because of the lack of teacher housing which is provided at government schools. To this end we are building teacher duplexes. Up to this point in time they have been living in marginal housing at some distance from the school requiring them to ride their bikes from 6 to 10 miles to teach.
The housing complex is being built next to MCV. Three duplexes have been built. Almost all the money has come from Anchorage. A duplex costs $20,000 . MCV have gathered $16,000 for a fourth duplex and currently need an additional $4000 to be able to begin construction.
The concrete blocks are made on site. One block at a time.