The trip to Open Arms Orphanage and Nkope School of the Blind was an uplifting experience.
Robin Pope Safaris recently visited the Open Arms Orphanage and Nkope School of the Blind in Malawi as part of their responsible tourism initiative where they were able to see first-hand the impact that donations from them and their guests have on the less fortunate.
Open Arms Orphanage
Open Arms Orphanage provides love, shelter food and medical care to orphaned and abandoned children in Malawi. Children may end up in an orphanage for various reasons, but usually parents are unable to take care of their child and are in need of Government Aid and cannot support another child in their home.
A baby as young as a day may be admitted into the Open Arms Orphanage, where they have a capacity of forty children. These children range from one-day olds up to two years old, after which they are placed in suitable foster homes.
Mothers take care of around six children depending on how many they can handle. Night shifts and day shifts are split up between two mothers per group of orphans to be available for any of their children at any given time. The mothers will wash, feed and play with their children until the child is old enough to be moved to a foster home or is taken in by a suitable family member.
Any Donations given to the orphanage are greatly appreciated. Clothes that have been donated are assorted by size and gender, as well as what type of clothes it is. Each child has a shelf in a closet where they all have an allocated amount of clothes which are continuously replaced when needed.
Any toys that are donated are stored close to the class room where the children have their play dates and start learning the basics of the local Chichewa language.
At the orphanage, there are nurses that treat the simple sicknesses that may occur with an infant. If needed, a child is taken to the Maccochi clinic where serious sickness will be attended to, and after the child has recovered fully, they will be taken back to the orphanage.
Children that are under the age of six months are exclusively on a diet of Lactogen 1. From six months the children are put on the diet of Lactogen 2. These supplies are bought through their head office located in Blantyre and are also sent to the orphanage.
Starting Village life
At two years old, an orphan becomes ready to start living in the village. If a child has a suitable family member that can adopt them into the family the orphanage will start to educate the family member on the essentials that the child will need to integrate successfully into the community.
Just before the orphaned child leaves the orphanage, one last step is taken so that the child will feel comfortable in the village environment. The child is placed into a model village home with their foster parent and sleeps just as they would in the village to give the child an actual vision of how they may live in the future. This ensures a smooth change from the orphanage into the village.
After a child is ‘discharged’ into a village with their suitable family member, the child may face a new set of challenges, one of which is malnutrition. To keep track of the children and to make sure that the challenges do not become severe, the Open Arms Orphanage will host outreach programs to visit children. By doing this they can once again make contact with the orphans to see how they have adapted to village life, as well as helping with challenges such as malnutrition by supplying food.
Nkope School of the Blind
After visiting the Open Arms Orphanage, another heart-warming experience took place at the Nkope School of the Blind where the Robin Pope Safaris team witnessed selflessness and a large amount of community love, care and protection where many would doubt it existed.
Albinism is defined as a disorder characterised by the partial or complete absence of pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes. Lack of pigment in the skin is a difficult situation when you live in Africa as with the sun bearing down, and no natural protection from it, there is a very high risk of sun burn and skin cancer.
At Nkope School of the Blind near Maccochi, there resides two students who suffer from albinism. These students are proudly protected by their community. They are both partially blind and have many helping hands that donate sunscreen and other medical supplies which they are extremely grateful for. Many of the items donated are sunscreen and lip balm as well as creams and ointments to help ease or prevent sun burn.
Nkope School is very happy with one of their students who has excelled at her schooling and has recently written her examinations. They personally would like to thank all the donors for all they have donated and are very grateful with everything they have received.
Contact Robin Pope Safaris
Phone: +265 (0) 179 4491 / 5483