Joshua began with the establishment of a single CBCC, often referred to as Feeding Centres, for vulnerable children in Pensulo village, 10 Km from the city of Blantyre. Since Joshua was founded, we have helped construct twenty of these Centres and still run ten in villages across the region.
Joshua aims to encourage rural communities to take part in development activities which will improve the lives of vulnerable groups, especially orphans. One of the central ways that Joshua initiates this is through its support of these centres. Joshua is now operating in 19 rural communities with 10 CBCCs, some of which have been built by our organisation. We help by supplying food, cooking equipment, seeds for crops, fruit trees, educational materials and training for the carers who work voluntarily.
In total, Joshua is helping close to 1000 children by ensuring that they have at least one nutritious meal each day. In some areas, primary school children are also fed. Although a small organisation, Joshua employs a small team of local Field Officers to assist our programmes and ensure everything we do is community-led.
A lack of access to quality education is a huge problem in Malawi. Many children have to walk for up to two hours to reach the closest school, thousands don’t complete their primary education, let alone secondary and without an education they struggle to break out of the cycle of poverty.
We believe that every child has the right to an education and we currently support five primary schools in the area and have helped to build even more primary classrooms.
After we established our pre-school and primary programme, we became very aware of the lack of secondary education in Pensulo. Primary school education is free in Malawi, but secondary education is not. As a result thousands of young people are denied an education, and this keeps them trapped in poverty.
With the support of the local community, we decided to fund the construction of the first ever Secondary School in Pensulo.
The Joshua Secondary School (JOSS) was founded in 1999 and with demand has grown over the years. It now consists of two classes for each form (1-4) and has an enrolment of over 600 students.
JOSS works on two levels, those who can afford to pay fees do so, and those who can’t are assessed, and where possible given a full sponsorship. We keep our fees comparatively low, enabling more children to access high quality education, whilst ensuring the schools sustainability.
Of the current intake at the school 150 students are HIV/AIDS orphans and vulnerable children. Our sponsorship programme, the Sukulu Project, specifically supports these youngsters, enabling them to develop their talents and abilities to the full and get the education they deserve. Where possible we also support some of our most promising students through their Further Education.
One of the students supported by this programme is 17 year old Chifundo Chinamulungu.
Chifundo’s father died when he was four of HIV/AIDS and his mother when he was just ten. Since then his brother has been looking after him and his sister. In Malawi this is known as a child headed household.
Chifundo’s brother is currently training to be a welder, and does all he can to support his brother in his studies, but he couldn’t afford his school fees, so he approached a teacher at Joshua Secondary School for help and they registered him for sponsorship. In 2013, thanks to a donation from a UK based charitable trust we were able to offer Chifundo a fully funded place at JOSS.
Chifundo gets up at 6am every day to walk to school, on the day we met him he hadn’t had breakfast and didn’t have any lunch with him either. But his spirit was undiminished by this and he was determined to study hard despite the adversity he faces.
His favourite subjects are Maths, English and Physical Science and in the future, Chifundo would like to be an accountant. He’s also on the school volleyball team which he loves playing.
In 2010 Joshua Orphan and Community Care opened its new maternity, HIV and health centre in Pensulo, serving a wide area and a large population of over 40,000. The clinic, built by local Malawian people with the support of UK volunteers and donations, provides expectant mothers with the medical care they need as well as treating common diseases such as malaria, pneumonia and HIV/AIDS.
It also promotes family planning and acts as an education centre. In 2012 electricity reached the clinic after years of hard work and women no longer have to give birth by candlelight.
The Clinic was built in 2008 by local Malawian people with the support of volunteers from Quest Overseas. The fantastic bunch of people involved from the UK included 45 Royal Bank of Scotland employees who not only spent 3 weeks working hard to complete the project from foundations to roof, but also helped raise over £60,000 to do so! Their work was then supported by a number of smaller groups of Quest volunteers who helped with the rendering, plastering, painting, and construction of the auxiliary buildings such as doctors housing.
Over the years the clinic has proved to be a valuable lifeline to people living in this impoverished rural area.
In Malawi only 46% of citizens live within a 5km radius of any kind of health facility. As the majority of people are substance farmers, they struggle to travel to these centres and often leave seeking help until it is too late.
Joshua is dedicated to improving access to healthcare in rural areas, so we run under-five clinics at four of Joshua’s Community Based Childcare Centres (CBCC’s) taking vital front line services to those who need it most.
These out-reach clinics are take place every Friday and are run by Margreet, a nurse from Holland who lives and works in Malawi and gives up her day off to run these clinics for Joshua with the help of other local volunteers.
Children under five have their weight, temperature and height recorded, as well as receiving a general check-up to monitor any skin infections, wounds or other signs of illness they may have. Margreet records these in order to help identify common illnesses such as diarrhoea, malnutrition, worms and malaria, which can be identified by sudden weight loss. If there is any cause for concern children are referred to the Joshua clinic, local hospital or given out basic medication there and then.
As well as the under-fives clinic, the two volunteers also run a training workshop every Friday afternoon. They teach the local community about important health issues, such as: first aid, hygiene, malaria, HIV/AIDS, diabetes and blood pressure.
Since these clinics started we have seen very positive results. Common childhood illnesses are being caught and treated early, the burden of travelling long distances to access healthcare is being lifted from hard working mothers and because of our training sessions and wound care advice less children are suffering from skin infections, and wounds are being thoroughly washed and dressed, resulting in quicker healing times.
Taking healthcare into the heart of rural communities like this is key to saving lives and improving long term health.
It is estimated that more than 2.4 million people living in Malawi don’t have access to clean water. As a result roughly 3,500 children die every year from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. Joshua runs a range of water projects, from constructing water tanks and bore holes, too educational workshops on how to make water safe and how to use it properly to keep you healthy.
Many of our projects are linked and in 2012, thanks to support from Croydon Whitgift Rotary Club, we were able to build a much needed water tank at the Joshua Secondary School. This water tank has ensured that the secondary school has a stable supply of clean water all year round and it supports our agriculture and health classes.
The Joshua Maize Mill was completed in 2013 thanks to the hard work and dedication of David and Marjorie Pearson, Roy and Chris Grain and Sherborne Castles Rotary Club.
The construction of the Maize Mill means that the villagers no longer have to walk for over 10 kilometres to the nearest mill. In addition to employing 4 local people the mill generates a profit which is used to support orphans and old people who no longer have family members to take care of them.
The rainwater harvesting system takes water from the roof of the mill during the rainy season and has a capacity to store 30,000 litres. The rainwater storage tanks eliminate the need for up to 50 families to walk 5 kilometres find water which may be polluted.
Mrs Agnes Msosa is a volunteer caregiver at one of our most rural feeding centre. Agnes has been given 100 chickens through an IGA project funded by local lodge and restaurant Fisherman’s Rest. She is caring for and feeding the chickens, which she will then sell.
She hopes to buy 110 once she has sold the first batch and it is hoped that this small business model will be replicated throughout the communities Joshua supports.
Building and managing a resource centre and a sustainable income-generating bakery
Supporting particularly vulnerable families, including some with no parents
Running a clean water programme and constructing water tanks
Creating a successful Youth Group, now with over 40 members, to provide the opportunity for teenagers to meet and play games, discuss ideas and find ways to assist their community.