The Story of Kawaza Community
The community of Kawaza is located about 20 km from the nearest town of Dedza and is known for its frequent flooding. With little opportunities for employment, many people rely on farming small plots of land and selling vegetables in the nearby market. The lack of rain in recent years has left the ground and wells dried up, and families have anxiously faced several seasons of unfavourable harvest. A shortage of clean drinking water requires people to walk far distances for water. Each one of these challenges adds to the vulnerability of the people living in the community of Kawaza.
Children currently supported: 50
Number of Care Workers: 13
coordinator name: Julianna
Distance from DEDZA Local Office: 35 KM
Basic Services Started: 2018
In late 2009, after years of witnessing the devastation that the HIV/Aids epidemic had left on his community, Pastor James gathered with a few other church members to help the most vulnerable in the community of Mcheneke. These servant-hearted individuals began visiting the sick, the dying and the most vulnerable children in this large rural area that borders Mozambique and houses a large population of its refugees. Soon after, Pastor James met Hands at Work leaders who shared their vision of partnership with locally owned organisations who were caring for the most vulnerable. In early 2011, Umodzi Community Based Organisation (CBO) was born. Within a few months, community members from seven local churches volunteered their time to care for their community. With the support of Hands at Work, the Care Workers received training to care for the most vulnerable children.
In Mcheneke, three Care Points operated to provide children with access to life-giving services of daily food security, access to education and basic health care. Children would access these from a Care Point location closest to their home. Over the years, as the needs of the most vulnerable within the community and the surrounding areas continued to grow, the leaders of Hands at Work knew they needed to respond. Hands at Work began to mobilise local volunteers from a few churches in one of the Care Point locations known as Kawaza by sharing the vision of Hands at Work. In July 2018, Kawaza became its own independent CBO, operating out of its Care Point and with a team of local volunteer Care Workers who exist to care for 50 of the most vulnerable children.
The Dedza Local Office team has worked with the Care Workers to build a temporary shelter that the children can use to eat under, a shelter for the kitchen, and a toilet which will improve the health and hygiene of the most vulnerable children.
When 9-year-old Matthew’s* father passed away in 2009, his mother was left to care for Matthew and his two siblings alone. Shortly thereafter, his mother remarried and had another two children. Eventually, they divorced, and Matthew’s mother was once again left with the sole responsibility of caring for her children.
When Matthew and his siblings were identified as some of the most vulnerable children, they were invited to the Care Point where they began receiving a hot and nutritious meal daily, access to education and basic health care. Jofina, a volunteer Care Worker, regularly visits the family bringing much-needed support and encouragement. Through the love and commitment of the Care Workers, transformation is taking place in the lives of Matthew and his family.
The Hands at Work office in Malawi currently supports six Community Based Organisations, which exist to care for the most vulnerable in their communities. The office provides training, networking, and encouragement to those Community Based Organisations like Kawaza. It also gives administrative support, including helping with funding proposals, monitoring and evaluation, bookkeeping and reporting to donors.