The Story of MPata Community
The community of Mpata is located about 15 km from the nearest town of Dedza in an area surrounded by rocky, rolling hills. With little opportunities for employment, many people rely on farming small plots of land and selling vegetables in the nearby market. There is a shortage of clean drinking water, requiring people to walk far distances for water. Each one of these challenges adds to the vulnerability of the people living in Mpata community.
Children currently supported: 50
Number of Care Workers: 5
coordinator name: lester
Distance from DEDZA Local Office: 15 KM
Basic Services Started: 2018
Hands at Work began operating in Malawi in 2008 in the rural village of Mngwere, about 15 kilometres from the central town of Dedza. Mngwere is an isolated community and very impoverished. Local school teacher Royie Nazombe encountered Hands at Work’s vision to see the local churches unite as Christ’s body to care for his community’s most vulnerable children and grasped it immediately. He left his job as a teacher to concentrate full time on mobilising and organising compassionate local volunteers. In order to address the most essential needs of an orphaned or vulnerable child in Mngwere Community, Hands at Work aims to provide one nutritious meal to each child per day, served at the Life Centre. Tima Community Based Organisations (CBO) assisted 33 children in its first year of operation, and has now increased to 200 children. Tima’s goal is to grow and to care for many more vulnerable children.
In Mngwere, three Care Points operated to provide children 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. In 2010, Hands at Work began to mobilise local volunteers from a few churches in one of the Care Point locations known as Mpata by sharing the vision of Hands at Work. Over the years, Mpata began to grow in its capacity when the number of Care Workers gradually increased, Holy Home Visits were happening frequently, and daily services were provided consistently for the most vulnerable children. In April 2018, Mpata became its own independent Community Based Organisation, 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.
In July, the owner of the facility where Mpata CBO was based asked the Care Workers to relocate. The Care Workers, together with the Hands at Work Local Office team in Dedza, approached the chief and were subsequently given a piece of land to use as their own. Members of the community reached out in compassion and provided materials and labour to construct a shelter. The construction of a toilet is also now underway and the Dedza Local Office team are working closely with the community to ensure the facilities are safe and effective for the children.
When 13-year-old Sara’s* father passed away, life drastically changed. Slowly, her mother began to struggle mentally and the children started looking after one another. Sara’s older sister became the breadwinner of the family as her mother was unable to provide for her children. Life was extremely challenging – the family couldn’t afford food, let alone clothing or access to education.
When Patience, one of the Care Workers, found Sara and her family, she knew that immediate action was necessary. She brought the children to the Care Point where they received a hot and nutritious meal and support with their education and health care. Her life has tremendously improved and her mother has built a strong relationship of trust with Patience. There is hope for Sara and her family!
The Hands at Work office in Dedza 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 Mpata. It also gives administrative support, including helping with funding proposals, monitoring and evaluation, bookkeeping and reporting to donors.