Glad Tidings Orphan Care
Who does it help?
Glad Tidings Orphan Care (GTOC) is a Community Based Organisation located, supported by Starfish Malawi, in the heart of Ngolowindo in Malawi. Ngolowindo is a rural area suffering extensively from the challenges of living in poverty, with the local communities facing inadequate levels of income, fragile food security and a lack of education and investment.
What does it involve?
Driven by an incredible passion and heart for the people of Ngolowindo, GTOC currently has one main centre and three satellite nurseries run by a dedicated team of staff and volunteers. There are several activities taking place at the GTOC centres, including:
Gateway - Providing girls with vital reusable sanitary health kits to give them the freedom to go to school and study during their periods. Glad Tidings has a long established and dedicated group of women who come together to make the kits.
Social Welfare Programme - The social welfare programme at Glad Tidings aims to protect and support vulnerable and orphaned children. A team of 6 key workers work alongside parents, guardians and members of the community to improve the lives of over 240 children in Ngolowindo through activities such as home visits, workshops for guardians, open health clinics and nutritional or material support.
Nursery Education - Pre-school education provides an important foundation for learning and development. Research has found that good quality education for disadvantaged children in their early years encourages all round development on physical, intellectual, creative, social, moral and emotional levels.
Nurseries Together - gives children who attend nursery schools in the UK a chance to learn how children of a similar age live and go to school in Malawi. The schools receive a bi-monthly newsletter which deals with subjects such as schools, animals, houses, food and clothing. The information is given through pictures and a few simple questions are asked.
Medical Clinics -
GTOC, funded by Starfish Malawi, is based at the heart of a rural community in Salima and has a catchment area of over 13,000 people. Working in partnership with the local health services, Starfish Malawi has facilitated holding seven clinics there which allows the local community access to essential medical treatment. Public transport to the nearest government hospital (12.6 kms away) is prohibitively expensive (1200 Kwacha – more than a day’s wages).
We are delighted to announce that, thanks to a £20,000 grant, this year will see the building of a new health post at Glad Tidings. Currently, the Glad Tidings building, which was originally a house, accommodates the nursery school and a sewing group as well as the seven clinics, which includes a physiotherapy clinic. Starfish Malawi currently provides a small lunch allowance and transport costs for each member of staff required in these clinics. In Malawi it is often these costs which cannot be covered by the Health Department and therefore act as a barrier to setting up clinics.
The new clinic will be purpose built providing suitably sized rooms for the medical staff to work in and much needed privacy for patients attending them. It will also allow the nursery classes, held in the original Glad Tidings building, to utilise more of the space available.
As part of local health requirements, an incinerator will also be built to dispose of medical refuse for instance, syringes and used dressings.
Memory (left: photo), a little girl with hydrocephalus, attends the clinic at Glad Tidings, and has recently received a new wheelchair provided by UK donors.
The physiotherapy clinic has been particularly important, with children receiving physical supports to assist with disability and treatment from a qualified physiotherapist.
Motorised Ambulance Vehicle - For many people living in the villages, the hospital or nearest clinic is too far away for them to get to as public transport is expensive. The combined cost of transport and medical fees is just too much for some families to pay and as a result many will go untreated, risking serious and sometimes fatal complications. Since the physiotherapy clinic began a few months ago, the ambulance has been vital in assisting disabled children and their guardians to attend. The Ngolowindo community are incredibly thankful and grateful to One World Trust (Oxted) who provided the bicycle, which has made such a difference to so many.
Food and farming - The environment is a popular topic with schools on our linking programme. Recently, several partnerships installed an irrigation kit in the Malawi school, which allows them to grow food even in the dry season. At Chitiwiri we have already seen great success with the project and as a result have installed an even bigger one at Glad Tidings, where the garden is flourishing and producing vegetables.
With funds donated by the Michael Jackson Legacy, Starfish has created an orchard of fruit trees and trees with medicinal benefits that will benefit the community of Glad Tidings Orphan Care, as well as local primary schools. The aim of this project is to provide fruit to supplement diets and to educate the community about the nutritional importance of including fruit, fibre and vegetables in their diet. There are mango, quava, lemon, pawpaw, orange and moringa trees planted in the two acre site.
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Children's Clubs - This ministry seeks to ensure that the Word of God is taught to children. Children are encouraged to make good life choices within their local communities, transforming their lives and those around them. The programme also helps to provide training for Children’s Club leaders to enable them to be the leaders these children need through word, deed and example.
At the moment we are working in eight different centres, with a total of 807 children. This figure shows a significant increase, which is wonderful to see.
We have 30 club leaders working in these centres, 18 women and 12 men.
The programme also organises and runs an annual Youth Outreach Bonanza which aims to reach young people through sporting and creative activities. For more information about the programme please visit our Children’s Clubs page.
Why are we doing this?
To develop a thriving local community by empowering children to become agents, of change who are emotionally stable, socially adaptable and educationally informed.
Starfish Malawi has been the only funder for GTOC over the last eight years, providing nursery school education for over 2000 children as well as clothes, food, mosquito nets, shoes, medical care and help for guardians to support disadvantaged children through Key Workers' home visits
Apile and baby Zainabu
Orphaned when she was 10, Apile Kasim married a young man from another district at the age of 18. Shortly after their daughter Zainabu was born, her husband’s business collapsed and Apile returned to live with her guardians in Salima. When Zainabu was only one week old she cried constantly, and was unable to sleep because Apile was experiencing problems producing breast milk. Her health visitor suggested a change in diet, however despite her best efforts, nothing changed, and Zainabu’s weight started to drop very quickly, threatening her life.
Unable to buy milk, the family came to Glad Tidings to ask for help. In September 2015, Zainabu started to receive milk from the centre. Even after just one week, the family reported that they were witnessing an amazing change in Zainabu’s health. She had stopped crying as often, and she was also sleeping very well. Zainabu is now 6 months old and rapidly gaining weight.
Apile continues to work hard by making and selling mats to provide for herself and Zainabu and is very grateful for all the help the family has received from Glad Tidings and Starfish Malawi.