As President the year became focused on having a stable home for the children of The Agape Orphanage Foundation as well as addressing social issues and problem resolution towards these issues.
We began 2014 by purchasing land first for our feeding program that is located within the capital city of Lilongwe in Area 56. Here we built our pilot project to see how building would go in a foreign country. We purchased a 15m x 30m plot of land, rectangular in size. We built a small building to house our 55-110 orphans who come on Saturday where they can partake 3 meals. Here we also engage them in activities that shows we care for them. We give leadership training to young children as well as sing and dance with them. The new building provides shelter to keep out the rain and dust, but we still need to add windows, doors and a outdoor bathroom. The building in size is 9mx6m (or 30’x20′ feet). The current cost for this building in total including land and building was $3,500. A very simple structure with no windows, doors, rooms inside or plumbing or electricity or other services yet. We hope to complete more in the year ahead on this shelter.
Next The Agape Orphanage Foundation purchased land very close to the town of Msundwe, 40 minutes outside of the capital city of Lilongwe from city limits. We had many challenges as we set about purchasing native land and creating a title deed to this land. Through good legal support in Malawi The Agape Orphanage has title deed to 15.782 acres with 1.744 acres still waiting to be purchased.
The building process started in March and the first need was to get water on our land. Talk about a leap in faith. On our 3rd attempt, and much prayer, we hit a large aqua flow, and with a whopping 14 gallons per minute we had enough water for our site. Perfect for the needs of our orphanage. With plans to construct 2 dorms we got busy building. With the social issue of many children growing into teenagers, we decided to build 2 dorms. We built a dorm for the girls and one for the boys. Inside each dorm is a nanny or matron suite. Each dorm has room for 4 nannies providing ample care of our children.
We built a foundation for a communal kitchen. This is where the family will spend time together when they eat. It will be the central eating area for the children as well as working together doing homework etc. A small stage area at the front of the kitchen will be built for announcements, music programs, as well as an area for the children to showcase skills and talents. This building needs to be completed with windows, roof, bathroom facilities and kitchen cabinets.
We have moved the family on site as of September 1, 2014. Enrolled in their new schools, they are learning and working hard to get an education. Being on site in July and August it gave me good insight what was still needed.
Our next goal is to start developing some of the land for part of our sustainability needs. We are hoping to culture the land to plant maize their main staple diet as well as vegetables.
We need to build a fence around the project for the safety of the children and this is one of the 1st goals we will be working on. This is a huge cost.
On site we have built two foundations; a future administration building and a duplex for a Program Director team to live on site to administrate and develop programs for the advancement of the children.
On the construction site, we hired local Malawians with their skills to help inprove and impact the villages around us. We are culturally sensitive and are building into the Malawians cultural sector and championing our cause in Malawi as well as in Canada.
Our goal is not to just make poverty comfortable but we are passionate to create initiatives to train our youth to transition into responsible adulthood. Digging into the root causes we know that by providing structure we will be able to engage them on skills development.
We have much work to accomplish ahead of us in the years to come and look forward to seeing how God will grow The Agape Orphanage Foundation.
We appreciate the Alberta Government and the Community Initiatives Program for helping us to impact lives around the world are deeply grateful that for the help in taking care of orphaned children in Malawi of which many are HIV infected.
International President for The Agape Orphanage Foundation
An orphan (from the Greek ὀρφανός orfanos) is a child whose parents are dead or have abandoned them permanently.
Most orphans would say that they want more than anything else to have a family, to become rich and to be established in the world. This would enable them to get away from being an orphan. Finding their birth parents, if they are still alive, is not that important to them. They know that their parents will never look for them.
Nobody would ever choose to be an orphan. It is lonely, painful, and frightening. 1st fear is starvation. These children know people take advantage of orphans. When children are raised with chronic loss, without the psychological or physical protection they need and certainly deserve, it is most natural for them to internalize incredible fear. Not receiving necessary psychological or physical protection equals abandonment. Living with repeated abandonment experiences creates toxic shame. Shame arises from the painful message implied in abandonment: “You are not important. You are not of value.” This is the pain from which people need to heal.
Children are totally dependent on caretakers to provide safety in their environment. When they do not have this safety, they grow up believing that the world is an unsafe place, that people are not to be trusted, and that they do not deserve positive attention and adequate care.
Emotional abandonment occurs when children do not receive the emotional environment necessary for healthy development. Emotional abandonment occurs when a child has to hide a part of who he or she is in order to be accepted, or to not be rejected.
Abandonment issues many times are fused with distorted, confused, or undefined boundaries.
Abandonment plus distorted boundaries, at a time when children are developing their sense of worth, is the foundation for the belief in their own inadequacy and the central cause of their shame. Abandonment and boundary violations are in no way indictments of a child’s innate goodness and value. Instead, it reveals the flawed thinking, false beliefs, and impaired behaviors of those who hurt them. The wounds are struck deep in their young hearts and minds, and the very real pain can still be felt today. The causes of emotional injuries need to be understood and accepted so they can heal. Until that occurs, the pain will stay with them, becoming a driving force in their adult lives.
Orphans, are a vulnerable, unprotected group, that have not only experienced the immense grief of losing one or both of their parents, but are also at especially high risk of abuse because they have no one looking out for their best interests. Physical abuse, sexual abuse, or abandonment are all too common.
Many children and adults in Africa experience trauma through poverty and stress of not having a job, or enough money to support their family. Understandably, these experiences have left these individuals broken, guilty, angry, untrusting, and in need of immense emotional healing. With no government programs in place, Unemployment Insurance, Blue Cross for medical needs, Soup stations for the poor, welfare programs, or hostiles such as we have in Canada, and often they are left to beg on the streets.
Our children are no longer orphans but have become a member of our family. They receive encouragement, prayers, love, education, shelter, food and all the other essentials. This shows them a glimpse of what the family of God begins to look like.
At Agape we are a foundation committed to this vision. We wish to transform children and raise them up from the ashes as per Isaiah 61. This passion we feel is to focus on the individual child. We apply first a physical environment of security. This is the main reason why we have committed to purchasing land and building a permanent home for our children. This ministry is focused on mentoring, teaching and equipping our children with skills. Each child as you have read above first feels the physical poverty, then the emotional poverty and last the spiritual poverty.
We have rescued children in the most desperate of circumstances. We have brought in young children who have been raped at a early age because in their culture men with HIV Aids had been told by witch doctors they would be healed of aids by raping a baby or a child, regardless of their sexual gender. They have experienced the loss of parents due to HIV/AIDS or other numerous diseases such as Malaria, Hep A, Hep E, the Dengue fever etc. . These children have tasted poverty, death, rape and abuse. We have brought them into a loving family where we carve out a future of hope for them. Our desire is to see each child succeed.
We believe that family-style homes provide the stable, nurturing environment our children need to develop into healthy, relational, well-balanced adults. We would like to have family-style Children’s Homes to provide well-rounded care for the orphaned children we serve. Instead due to the many children espically our high level of teens we decided to build dorms. Each dorm consists of 4 house matrons (or could in the future provide sets of married house parents on site) who care for children with the assistance of “aunties” which they consider to be their mothers.
Currently we are seeking positive male role models in a teaching capacity to provide male leadership roles to our children.
We are a Christian registered Charitable Foundation and God is the center of our foundation. We seek His Holy Spirit for leading, guiding, providing, and sustaining this work.
It is our heartfelt desire to serve God by helping the orphans and the widows as per James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultess is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
We wish to carve a future generation, by mentoring, forming, moulding and shaping many young lives for Christ and His Kingdom.
We invite you to learn more about us through our website and to join us in the numerous ways that you can come on board to help. Some of our web site is under new construction, just like our current home. We hope to complete stage 1 by August 2014 and currently continue to rent till completion of the dorms.
I thank all of you for your contributions to this foundation.
International President for The Agape Orphanage Foundation