Viewing entries tagged

They made it!

We're excited to report that the shipment of medical supplies — x-ray machines, generators, lab equipment, basic hospital supplies, and more — has made it! The shipment arrived in Malawi and was delivered to three previously undersupplied rural clinics: Dzuwa Village Clinic, Kabudula Community Hospital, and Lilongwe Private Clinic. Take a look back at what used to be, then celebrate the delivery with us below. Thank you to all who made this shipment possible!



Making a Career in the Hard Places

Let’s face it. Most people who grow up in poverty want to get far away from it as quickly as they can. Not Everton Kamangire of Malawi. He grew up with a different aspiration: make a difference in the lives of those immersed in deep poverty.

Everton began by doing what he could, providing a blanket or meal here or there. He pursued a degree and was driven by mentors who challenged him to dig deeper. After graduating, Everton began teaching at a local school and then launched the Lizulu Orphan Care Project.

Lizulu is a rural Malawian community that is no stranger to HIV/AIDS or generational poverty. Consequently, it is no stranger to orphans. The average Lizulu family lives on less than $0.75 a day, making the ability to support orphans seem far from possible. Yet, about 3,000 orphans call Lizulu home. Many call Everton their role model.

The impact of Everton’s aspiration has been colossal. Nearly 500 children in Lizulu have completed secondary school, a feat that without the support of a family would typically be impossible for an orphan. His holistic approach, built on the concept of community-based care, allows children to live in the comfort of a real home with a real community – a built-in family - surrounding them. Five community centers in the village provide meals, and local leaders offer tutoring and counseling to ensure school is more than just going through the motions and life is more than just getting by. Blankets, clothing, medical services – all provided.

Everton has turned a community previously defined by poverty into a community defined by God. It’s an environment that doesn’t allow feelings of abandonment or worthlessness to stand a chance. It’s clear in the children’s excitement as they share their dreams – dreams very much alive despite tragic circumstances. Take for example Joy*. At 16, after losing both of her parents, Joy moved in with her grandmother. Two weeks later, she lost her grandmother. But Joy sits with confidence as she tells her story. Instead of speaking of sorrow, she speaks of her aspirations to become a midwife.

This is the story of a leader who matters in the hard places – a leader who dared to step into the stories of those around him and embrace them where they are. A leader who changed both the perception of the orphan and of the orphan’s community, enabling each to confidently see themselves the way God sees them. And every day, it grows a little more into the story of future leaders that matter in the hard places.

*Name changed for confidentiality.

M.D. Malawi

“I woke up in the middle of the night in a lot of pain. It was dark and hard to focus, but I will always remember the sight of this tiny Malawian nurse. Her hands were folded. Her eyes were closed. She was praying for me.” – Dr. Phil Renicks

Have you ever wondered what it is like to live in a place where getting emergency medical treatment is a challenge? Phil Renicks, Ed.D, known to our African Leadership staff as “Dr. Phil,” found this out the hard way. Our Chief Education Officer, Dr. Phil was in Malawi in early October leading a retreat for the teachers, administrators, and board members at The Adziwa Christian Primary School.

As his time there was drawing to a close, Dr. Phil began suffering severe abdominal pains. Having spent nearly a half-century traveling internationally to support Christian education, he was experienced enough to know something was very wrong. After being turned away from two clinics, staff from the school got him to a local hospital. He was put in a small room with two beds - a single mattress between them – and a bare bulb dangling from the ceiling, providing only faint, flickering light. This room… was the emergency room.

His pain was acute. An EKG showed his heart was not the culprit, but the ultimate diagnosis took days. When it did come, the doctors were able to prescribe the right course of medicine to relieve the pain and address the medical condition, and after several very difficult days for Phil and his family, he returned home.

Every year, a generous partner of African Leadership provides much needed medical supplies and equipment for these sparse, front-line hospitals. This year’s container includes x-ray machines, lab equipment, disposable supplies like needles and surgery equipment, and a generator to provide consistent power. The shipment has been designated for three hospitals in Malawi, just like the one that cared for Dr. Phil.

That shipping container, holding over $400,000 worth of supplies and equipment, may be ready to go…but unless it is actually shipped, it’s not very effective. The cost of shipping, $32,000, is all that is left to secure. It will cover the purchase of a few extra pieces of equipment and then get the container from the United States to Malawi. It comes down to this: we can deliver $400,000 worth of life-saving tools for only $32,000. We can serve the medical leaders that matter in hard places like Africa’s hospitals by shipping a container.

Before you think we forgot to tell the rest of the story, Phil’s time with the teachers was remarkable. After a week spent exploring what living out of a Biblical worldview really means, five of the fourteen teachers, all graduates of a Christian college, realized they needed to follow Christ and made a public profession of faith.  Another three recommitted their lives and their service to Christ.

Already we are seeing change in the classroom from all fourteen teachers. Around 500 children were in that school each and every day before Phil arrived; now 500 children are in that school each and every day learning from teachers who first love God their Father so that they can then love, serve, and teach their students in word, in action, and in truth.

This is the African Leadership Network – leaders who matter in the hard places. Won’t you help us make sure that healing medicine can be delivered alongside the Bible’s healing words?

[maxbutton id="21"]

The Secret to Living Well

There’s an old quote attributed to Alexander the Great that so often resonates with the news and updates we receive from project partners in Africa:

I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well.

African Leadership’s Community Investment program is broken down into five main project areas: Clean Water, Economic Freedom, Education, Health Care, and Orphan Care. But the more we communicate with partners on the ground and the more we witness initiatives firsthand, it becomes clear that whether labeled an education project or not, education is something that is woven into the fabric of every Community Investment project. It may not always look like brick-and-mortar primary schools or classrooms full of students, but the importance of teachers cannot be understated.

A report recently received from one of our projects in Malawi is a powerful testament to this. Emma*, a 14-year-old orphan living with her grandmother, shares her story with us:

We have new teachers at our school. They are really my parents. They listen to my problems and they help me to overcome obstacles I meet every day. Above all, I thank God for Mr. Chete who is our Head Master. I wish he was my father. I feel so safe and loved every day I see him. I am sure that he is sent by God to me to be my father. Since he came, we have been eating sweet porridge and sometimes we drink tea at school. He loves everybody as his own child. My teacher, Mr. Chirwa, is a wonderful man. I can now speak and write English. Mr. Chirwa encourages us to study hard. He always reads a Bible before us before we start learning. I like this because ever since I started learning from the Bible, I feel secured and happy with my life. Mr. Chete taught me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. I now know that God loves me.

Teachers like Mr. Chirwa impart much more than just knowledge. We see it in a Kenyan Kiswahili and Music teacher at New Dawn who says part of her teaching strategy is “inculcating a feeling of equality among all students regardless of their tribe, social background, or standing.” We see it in the Lizulu Orphan Care Project when ex-orphans served by the program return to serve current children in the program.

This is the kind of education we aim for in African Leadership Community Investment programs, for it is the only kind of education that can handle the hard topics and hard places present in Africa. It is teachers, both those inside and outside the classroom, that ultimately ensure that Africa’s next generation is living well.

*Name changed for confidentiality.