THE CHILDREN’S SHELTER

Project – Teach and Social

Our picture shows the children with Frighton standing on the left and Miss Tryness kneeling front right

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Latest Report 26 Nov 10

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ABOUT THE SHELTER PROJECT

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At the beginning of 2008 a shelter, constructed in a traditional manner using reed sheets and grasses, was erected outside the aup office and Information and Learning Centre in Nkhata Bay, Malawi. 

The shelter was erected largely in response to the fact that the Information Centre was too small to cope with the number of visitors. Additionally. it was proposed that the shelter would provide a small reading area and games facility. Students would be encouraged to use the reading area. We sponsored a subscription to the national Daily Times. Games played include Bawo, a Malawian version of an ancient African board game based around a simple counting apparatus, and chess. It was also hoped the area could be used to display products from aup income generating activities such as solar fruit drying, mushroom growing and pillows although this activity has not yet been as successful as was hoped. 

Towards the end of 2008 the shelter also became home to a childrens project which aup Malawi named the Childrens Shelter. For two hour sessions on each of three afternoons a week up to 30 children aged between 5 to 15 years attend to take part in a mixture of school activities and fun. The project is aimed particularly towards street children and orphans. The project is run by the Learning Centre manager with the help of other aup members.

In the past, the traditional Malawian family and social care systems probably dealt well with orphaned children most at risk. However, the onslaught of HIV/AIDS contributed to a rapid rise in the number of orphans and street children to the point of crisis. Many reports put the number of orphaned children in Malawi at around 1 million. 

As well as giving young orphans and street children a short respite from their daily cares, we ask the Centre staff to work hard to ensure that these vulnerable children attend school regularly (recognising the problem of truancy). We would also like the staff to ensure that the children get proper access to normal health care and welfare facilities as required.

We do everything we can to encourage oversees visitors to see this project and, with the permission of aup Malawi, to take part when they can. This can be, for example, story telling, organising physical activities or simply interacting with the children and answering their questions. This is the vital link to our mission statement (promoting awareness and understanding). 

This project, by its very nature, does not give aup Malawi an income generating potential so they rely heavily on the generosity of volunteers. This generosity is greatly appreciated.  We sponsor the supply of basic reading and writing materials and, when we can, the provision of a simple basic meal. We also provide an allowance which supports a part time teaching post.