The Story of MCHENEKe Community
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 7 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.
Children currently supported: 200
Number of Care Workers: 27
Coordinator Name: KATUNGA/ANDREW
Distance from DEDZA Local Office: 26 KM
Basic Services Started: 2012
Umodzi CBO, meaning ‘we are together’, began with a few individuals answering God’s call to care for the most vulnerable in their community. Today, 27 Care Workers have been mobilised to care for the most vulnerable, bringing God’s love to the many broken lives in this large community. Home visits are foundational to this care, allowing the volunteers to build up strong relationships, enabling them to support each child physically, emotionally and spiritually. Visits also help them to accurately assess each child’s needs and make a plan for how to best intervene and provide sustainable care for them.
In addition to visiting vulnerable children in the area, Umodzi CBO provides a hot, nutritious meal to 200 children at 3 locations every day. When children come to the CBO to receive a meal, they find a supportive, healthy environment that provides holistic care and support.
The Life Centre construction is on its way to completion in Mcheneke Community! The toilets, kitchen, and a simple caretaker’s house have been completed. Having a Life Centre facility provides a safe and welcoming environment in the community for the children to come to eat and play. It provides a place for Care Workers to have a greater impact in the families they are caring for, as well as extending that love, shown to them through Christ’s example, to the wider community also. The Life Centre not only accommodates 200 children, after an additional 50 were added to the CBO’s care in July 2016, but is a place for Relationship Groups to be developed, for the local church to invest in, and to be a place of light and hope for the wider community.
Kuliraga*, aged 15, dreams of one day becoming a nurse and giving back to her community. At a young age she lost both of her parents and was taken in by an ailing aunt. In 2013 her aunt suffered a massive stroke leaving her paralysed on one side. She struggled to continue to care for Kuliraga. Sare, a local Care Worker, heard their story and reached out to them. Kuliraga now receives basic services at the local Care Point and can often be seen playing soccer with her friends.
The Hands at Work office in Dedza currently supports four 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 Umodzi. It also gives administrative support, including helping with funding proposals, monitoring and evaluation, bookkeeping and reporting to donors.