Serving in their homeland of Malawi
At Hands at Work, our volunteers are called by God from all over the world to serve the most vulnerable in Africa. Each of us has a unique story of how we were transformed when we stepped out in faith and were obedient to His call.
When many children were not going to school in their community of Mngwere, Malawi, Royie and Violet responded. They knew they were called to bring life to these orphaned and vulnerable children. Their vision began in 2007, when a group of people from the church Royie serves in as a pastor started caring for the most vulnerable children in Mngwere. In their poverty stricken community, mobilising the local church to sacrifice their own meagre resources to care for others was a challenge. Those willing to give were being stretched too far, unable to provide for their own families as they gave to their community.
Despite the challenges, Royie and Violet knew God had called them to sacrifice their lives for the vulnerable children of Mngwere. By simply giving their time and getting to know many different vulnerable children, Royie and Violet discovered these children did not attend school because they did not have a regular food supply. They had no energy to walk the often long distance to a school, and their families desperately needed any efforts of their children to be put towards finding food or money every single day. Royie and Violet’s hearts were broken, and together with their church, they began to provide one daily meal of porridge so the children could go to school.
In 2009, a team from a church in South Africa visited Mngwere and felt called to be a part of Royie and Violet’s vision. They realised the need in the community for food, but beyond essential services, the need for a more holistic model of care. Royie and Violet’s understanding of the most vulnerable people in Mngwere was only made clear when they spent time with them. Food was not enough – time and love had to be a foundational part of caring for the most vulnerable.
Hands at Work became connected to Royie and Violet through the South African team. Levy Mwenda, a Hands at Work local leader, travelled to Malawi and saw the dire poverty and hunger in Mngwere. Inspired by Royie and Violet’s commitment to serve their people through the local church, a plan of action was ignited. The local commissioner was approached for permission for Hands at Work to begin providing support for Mngwere, but he was very reluctant. He said Mngwere was too rural, and they should find a better place. But this reluctance only confirmed to Levy what Royie and Violet knew in their hearts: Mngwere was in desperate need of hope. With their insistence, the commissioner agreed they could begin officially serving the community.
Together, Levy, Royie and Violet challenged more local churches in Mngwere to join them. Ten churches brought volunteers from their congregations who were ready to serve as Care Workers: men and women who would visit the most vulnerable children in their homes. By late 2009, a group of church leaders and Care Workers from different denominations came together and from their own resources began providing food for 33 of the most vulnerable children. “Those 33 kids were absolutely the most vulnerable, with literally nothing – no chance to enter a classroom,” Royie says. “But now, as I’m saying this, they are in grade 7!” As the number of Care Workers grew, the amount of children being cared for also increased. Along with a hot meal each day, children were being supported and encouraged by Care Workers through visits called Holy Home Visits, where the Care Workers bring parental love and care to children who have faced trauma and loss.
Royie and Violet’s passion has only grown over the years as they have faithfully followed their calling to care for those in greatest need. Royie is the Coordinator of the local Hands at Work office in Dedza, where he serves together with a team of local leaders to support four surrounding communities. For years, Violet has served as a Care Worker and mother figure in Mngwere. Last year, she also became part of the team in Dedza, where her role is to mentor and walk with Care Workers in each community.
Royie and Violet are parents not only to the growing communities throughout their region, but they have a family of their own with seven children and four grandchildren who are also living out God’s call to care for others. Their youngest son, Chisomo (8) has a heart of compassion for his peers already, and their oldest daughter, Chimwemwe, who was one of the first Care Workers in 2009, is now a teacher at the community school in Mngwere! With Christ-like love and servant hearts, Royie and Violet continue to inspire their family, team, and community. With humility and grace they remain committed to mobilising the local church in Malawi, answering God’s call to care for the most vulnerable.
Are you being called? Come serve with us.