MALAWI – Taking a Stand Against Hunger
In a nation where every 5 seconds a child dies from hunger related causes, every bit of help counts. Trinidad Christian Center is committed to taking a stand against hunger in the impoverished nation of Malawi by equipping the people to feed themselves.
Orphan from Blantyre, Malawi
I first met 10 year old Stella Checullo on the dusty village streets of Durande, Blantyre a village in the poverty stricken nation of Malawi. Stella, one of the over one million orphans in the nation of Malawi, lost her father when she was just 3 years old. Her mother struggled to take care of her but could not. Life was just too hard in this nation where long periods of droughts and frequent, devastating natural disasters are the order of the day. And with more and more adults dying daily due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic sweeping the nation, orphans like Stella are left behind with little hope of survival.
Two years after her father’s death, her mother, desperate to make a better life for her daughter, remarried. Stella’s step-father however was a drunk who frequently beat and ill-treated her mother. It is ironical that in a country where water and food are in such short supply, that alcohol however, would be readily available to this man, to make an already bad situation much worse.
After 3 years of abuse, starvation, pain and severe suffering, her mother died leaving Stella an orphan at age 8, in the hands of her cruel step-father who remarried shortly thereafter. Neglected and mis-treated by both her step-parents, Stella often went hungry days at a time and hardly attended school. My heart went out to this little barefooted girl in her tattered and torn dress that day in 2005 when I visited the village of Blantyre on my second missionary trip to this impoverished nation. As I watched this tiny figure tell of her struggles in her native tongue to one of my African associates, although I could not understand her words, I could feel her pain and as I looked into her sad eyes, I was deeply moved. She was so young yet the tell tale signs of her hardships already made her face appear much older than her tender age.
Through our ministry, Stella was fed, clothed and sent to school. Touched by Stella’s plight, we made contributions of blankets, shoes, clothes and food to Stella and many other orphans in the district. I would never forget the great, big, broad smile on Stella’s face when she, donned her new school uniform, shoes on her feet clutching her school books as though they were the greatest treasure in all the world and set out to school.
Aware that our donations only provided temporary relief, we embarked on an on-going agricultural project that would equip and empower the people to feed themselves. A first of its kind to the rural district of Nsanje, Blantyre, we initially acquired 75 acres of land where we hire the villagers to cultivate rice and corn on an ongoing basis. This project not only provides much needed jobs to locals in the area but yields an annual harvest which feeds nearly one hundred thousand in the region many of whom are orphans like Stella. In 2009 we acquired an additional 200 acres and we are currently in the process of establishing an irrigation plant. It is anticipated that once cultivated it would provide food for over one quarter of one million people on an on-going basis. We are presently seeking funding for this project and every little bit counts.