World Orphan Day

World Orphan Day

Today is World Orphan Day. This is an international day dedicated to recognizing and rescuing the orphans around the world. According to UNICEF, at least 153 million children worldwide have lost one or both of their parents. Once left without parents or other relatives who are able to adequately care for them, these children become incredibly vulnerable to hunger, sickness abuse, and even death.

Andiseni, a boy who now lives at Mtendere Children’s Village, is just one of these 153 million children around the world who became an orphan early on in life. His mother died while giving birth to him and his father, who was too sick to take care of him, would often forget to feed him. When Andiseni was brought to Mtendere, he was so thin and sick that his new family in the Village was afraid he might not live. By the grace of God, Andiseni was able to recover and is now a healthy and thriving young boy who is attending the fourth grade.

Andiseni when he first arrived at Mtendere 2005Andiseni when he first came to Mtendere Village as an infant

 

DSC07321Andisen now, as a healthy, happy boy living at Mtendere Village

God is so in love with the orphans of the world. Every single one of them, like Andiseni, is handcrafted by him to love him and be loved by him in a unique and personal way. This is why God’s children, who love Jesus and follow Him, are commanded to care for orphans and make it a priority to rescue them in any way possible. James 1:27 tells us, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” God is looking for people who will see the orphaned children of the world the way He sees them and who will love them like He loves them. This touches His heart more than all the church services and religious gatherings in the world.

As the world begins to recognize orphans through days like World Orphan Day, the Church that Jesus created to fill the world with His light and love, is rising up even more to love and rescue these desperate and hurting children. We pray that God will fill your heart with His love for the orphans of the world and that He will guide you in how to join Him in rescuing and redeeming them and to bringing them to Himself. We know that, ultimately, God is the father of the fatherless (Psalm 68:5) and will rescue and defend these precious children. We only want to join Him where He is and do the things that He is doing. God bless you as you love Him and follow Him into the lives of the orphans in your corner of the world.

Guest Post: Malawi, Summer 2015

After the amazing summer we had in Malawi with the many volunteer teams that visited Mtendere Village, we have loved hearing about how the Lord has impacted the lives of those who served with our children. One of the groups that visited sent us some testimonies from their group about what it was like to serve and love our children through tutoring and facilitating Vacation Bible School. We’d like to share with you what these wonderful volunteers wrote about their experiences:

“Our team leader gave a speech to the children of Mtendere on our first day in Malawi. He said, ‘the people on this team loved you before they even met you.’ I remember thinking how true that statement was. When we finally saw these children for the first time, I was overwhelmed with love that I had felt for these children for months leading up to the trip. I traveled around the world to see them and to show them that love and give these children as much as my heart as possible in two weeks.

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My favorite place to be was in the middle of a group of kids. I loved being surrounded by so many precious hearts. It’s amazing to watch them reflect what God wants us to be like in our faith. They have joy – a joy that can’t be taken from them. Someone from the village said one day, “if you can’t be happy here, where else can you be happy?” They believe in limitless possibilities and they have the most fun learning about new things. Interacting with the children at Mtendere taught me so many things, but above all, they taught me how to love everyone.

One night our team leader led a devotional in the village on being a light for the rest of the world. He used glow sticks to illustrate this, and every child got one. We continued to worship in the dark after his words because it all took place during a power outage. As I looked around at all the glow sticks and listened to the children YELL their praises to God I found myself in tears. I was experiencing worship with abandon. I was in the middle of a group of people who didn’t care how they looked or sounded. Their focus was on praising their Lord and Savior. I feel like the people of Mtendere gave me so much more than I gave them. But I know that’s how the family of God works, we come together and we are encouraged by one another. I know I have done that for Mtendere, and Mtendere has definitely done that for me.”

– Maggie (first time in Malawi)

 

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“Tutoring the children at Mtendere village was the most extraordinary and special experience I have ever had. This summer was my first time in Malawi and I am incredibly honored to have Although it was not always easy teaching them about negative numbers, sentence structure, about the Bible lessons, it was a truly amazing experience to connect and work with them. I’ll never forget when we were about to leave Malawi and the three girls I had taught hugged me and said, “I will miss you AK.” It meant so much more than they could ever imagine. I know the numerous hours of tutoring each day was not easy for them, but I could tell that they really appreciated us being there and that is an indescribable feeling. It’s been two months since I’ve been back in America, but not a day goes by where I don’t think about the many life and God lessons that I learned from the children at Mtendere village.”

– Alysa (first time in Malawi)

 

“Growing up I would have never thought that I would travel even down my own street to tutor young children, let alone to the opposite side of the world. So, when I was called to go on my first trip a year ago I felt inadequate and unsure even about teaching English and math. But there’s something different about Malawi and the children in Mtendere village which make it easy somehow. The young children I worked with have hearts like no other and a longing to learn more each day. While it is cliche to say ‘you will learn more from them then they will from you,’ I don’t believe that statement could be anymore true. While we can teach them simple addition or how to write an outline for an English paper; they teach us about true joy and how to love with your whole heart. As time passes there, it’s easy to grow tired from waking up early and staying up late every day working on academics. But when you see the joy in a child’s eye who finally understands something he or she’s been struggling with it makes it all worth while. That’s a feeling that you simply can’t compare to any other. This alone is reason enough to draw me to a place so far from where I’ve always called home. I’ve made that long journey two years in a row now, and I can honestly say that I pray every day for my family in Malawi and for God to reunite me with the children I love teaching so much.”

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– Nicole (second time in Malawi)

Trick or treat for kids around the world

 

It is the element of surprise that makes Halloween such an enjoyable time for many children. Dressing up in fun costumes, screams and scares, running around the neighborhood on a school night and collecting candy is all about the Trick or Treating fun.

As the Halloween excitement builds all around, students of the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance from Auburn University Montgomery (AUM), organized the third annual “trick or treat” drive in their neighborhoods–a tradition started by Roselyne Bosco, now a graduate of AUM.

But, unlike the children in search of sweets, these students asked for a more nontraditional treat. Dressed up in their orange and black school colors, 10 students and two profressors took on the task of going door to door to collect hygiene items and school supplies. As this was quite an unusual ask, with permission through the neighborhood association at Sturbridge Plantation, students of the NPLA sent out flyers to every home allowing them to prepare for a different type of trick or treating to benefit children in our own community and across the globe.

This year, thanks to the effort of these students and the generosity of the community, we will be able to provide hygiene items and school supplies to children at Mtendere at Mtendere Village (Malawi) and Adullam House (Wetumpka, Alabama). We are very grateful!

Christina Kadzamira, Program Assistant

 

Buy a shirt = Feed & Educate Orphans in Malawi

Hot off the press!  We’ve received such great feedback on our new t-shirts, and we’re so excited about what we’ll be able to do with the proceeds.  All of the funds generated will go to our nutrition and education programs in Malawi.  Questions?  Email Info@100XDevelopment.com.

Buy a shirt = Feed & Educate Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Malawi.

Buy Now

 

 

Blanchards Meet with President Joyce Banda of Malawi

With the critical needs of vulnerable children and families, the ongoing impacts of poverty and disease alongside the ever present challenges of human conflicts, the development sector needs to expand leveraged approaches.  Such approaches must maximize the value for money and multiply resources through collaboration, innovation and effective execution.  

– Lindy Blanchard

In February 2005, at the opening of Mtendere Village, 100X Development’s orphan care program in Malawi, John and Lindy Blanchard met then Minister for Gender and Community Services, Joyce Banda, for the first time. The past seven years have shown that the vision President Banda shared on that day – for the well-being and empowerment of women and children – was more than simple words. She has proven that she is dedicated to them, and is willing to leverage every resource available to her to help improve their circumstances. We are kindred spirits on this.

We were honored that President Banda extended an invitation for John and Lindy to meet with her last week while in New York for the UN General Assembly. During the meeting, they were able to share about the programs that 100X has established in Malawi and about our vision to expand programming to empower women and children for a more hopeful future. We look forward to the opportunity to work with President Banda to help the women and children of Malawi, and are excited to move forward and expand our outreach in the Warm Heart of Africa!

For additional press on this meeting, please visit the following websites: Nyasa Times, Malawi Democrat and MW Nation.

Media Contact: Kimberly Casey, Media@100XDevelopment.com or (202) 509-6005

LEVERAGE: Beauty of Life

As I sit here back at home, all I can think about are my adventures back in Malawi. How truly blessed I am to not only have gone once, but twice. Traveling to Malawi has allowed me to discover the beauty of life. It reminds me that I am not complete without these beautiful people who live half way across the globe. There is nothing like sitting on the porch of the guesthouse, overlooking Mtendere Village, and just spending time with all the wonderful kids. Even the amazing photos I have of the kids do not do them justice. Their beauty is something I have experienced first hand and it is these moments that will stay with me through the rest of my life.

While at Mtendere I had the opportunity to do some tutoring, help out in the preschool, and help out anywhere else it was needed. There were always opportunities to help out. Working in the preschool room was such a joy! I am amazed by how much the preschoolers know! It brought me great joy to watch Lovemore, the preschool teacher, share in his students’ successes. As a first grade teacher, having the opportunity to work with these children one on one is amazing. I had the chance to tutor a lot of the students in standard one, which is comparable to first grade. I have never seen such passion and excitement to learn. When we provided manipulatives and hands on learning materials the students’ eyes lit up. I love seeing such excitement to learn. The students are so resourceful and I know they will continue to work hard on their studies.


Traveling to Malawi has changed me forever. It has shown me to truly care for issues that are bigger than myself. In life, I think everyone has a special issue close to their heart, and I have found mine; those kids who have been left alone in this world. Mtendere Village is a place for some of these children and if you spend even a day there you can see how much love can do for a child. As my professor, Dr. Tony Kline said, “It’s amazing what a year of love can do.” This quote has stuck with me since this trip and I realize how truly profound love can be.  During my trip I witnessed this first hand.  A beautiful, 10 day old girl, named Winnie was given a chance at life in Mtendere Village. She was brought home, and immediately surrounded by family. It was a miracle, a chance for a child to grow up in a world where she is cared for. While there, I also got the chance to meet and spend time with the girl I sponsor, Eneles. At the beginning she was very shy and timid, but as time went on she opened up to us. I cannot even begin to describe her true beauty and joy. She has this smile and laugh that are just contagious. I am so proud of her and can’t wait to watch her grow as a person.

The world is a beautiful place, full of works of art. Throughout my entire trip, I experienced these first hand. Mtendere Village is a piece of this. There is nothing like walking the kids to school on the dusty African paths. Watching kids study and work so hard. Teaching the kids new things. Staring off at the mountains in horizon. Swinging at night and gazing at the stars. Laughing and being a kid. Hugging kids every single day.  Singing and praising God, who has given us this wonderful life. Seeing the smiling faces of kids who have gotten a second chance at life. This is my life, my chance at getting to know the world and some of the magnificent people that fill it. I can’t wait to go back again.

Maura Sawicki graduated from Ball State University in 2011 and is in her second year teaching 1st grade.

IMPACT: Stephen

As mentioned in previous posts, when Mtendere Village opened in 2005 we had 16 orphans and one housemother.  It has been my privilege to be a “proud mama” and watch these children grow up.  I have witnessed them grow physically, change emotionally, be challenged spiritually, and excel academically.  I love each and every one of them, and as the mother of Mtendere, I have been known to brag.  I simply cannot help myself!  That leads me to Stephen Makasu.

One of the first to arrive at Mtendere, Stephen was more than a little uncertain about what his new life would look like.  He had nothing to compare it to, no one to ask for advice; he was so small, and very shy.  What a difference seven years makes!  Today, Stephen has matured into one of the strongest leaders on campus.

Stephen has led by example in the classroom, as well as on the Mtendere campus, and he instills in our younger kids the drive to be better and work harder.  Always the top student in his class at Bambino (an international school right outside of Lilongwe), he is an intelligent young man who has cultivated his strengths in language and business.

All of us at 100X were exceedingly proud when, in 2010, he finished as the number one student in his German class and was given the opportunity to travel to Germany as part of an exchange program.  Because of his leadership, we flew Stephen to the US where he represented Mtendere Village at our winter benefit.    It is our hope that Stephen will be our first (but not the last) international collegiate student from Mtendere!

On their recent trip to Malawi, Dr. Rick Cook and other Auburn University faculty had the pleasure of meeting Stephen.  Afterward, they shared with me that they were beyond impressed with his confident, yet respectful demeanor.  Of course, my heart swelled with pride!

Through his hard work and commitment, Stephen has been able to participate in experiences that, prior to Mtendere Village, he could not even hope or imagine.  His life exemplifies what we want all of our kids to experience.

Stephen and I both know that much of this would not have been possible without the support of his sponsors, the Knight family.  In addition to financial sponsorship, they have encouraged Stephen through letters and have even traveled to Malawi to meet him.  Because of their dedication to our sponsorship program, the Knights have changed the life of Stephen Makasu.  I am so thankful for them, and for all of our sponsors who help our children achieve their dreams.  Without them, 100X would not be able to care for the 140 children who call Mtendere “home.”  So, we thank you!

If you’d like to join our family of sponsors, visit our Child Sponsorship page, or email Sponsor@100XDevelopment.com for more information.  We’d love to have you!

Dana Blanchard, Director of Operations for Malawi       

What is your fight?

I was in my junior year of undergrad when I first watched the movie Hotel Rwanda—a movie that detailed the story of Paul Rusesabagina and his experience during the Rwandan genocide.  If you haven’t seen it, I recommend a visit to your rental company of choice.

No matter how many times I view the movie, one scene stands out above all others.  The scene begins with Rusesabagina thanking Jack Daglish, a cameraman, for shooting footage of the massacre.

Rusesabagina: I am glad that you have shot this footage and that the world will see it. It is the only way we have a chance that people might intervene.  

Daglish: Yeah and if no one intervenes, is it still a good thing to show?

Rusesabagina: How can they not intervene when they witness such atrocities?

Daglish: I think if people see this footage they’ll say, “oh my God that’s horrible,” and then go on eating their dinners.

I do not know if this conversation portrays an actual conversation between Rusesabagina and Nick Hughes (the man who shot the footage accredited to the fictional Daglish), or if it was scripted for cinematic purposes, but what I do know is that what was predicted came to pass.

In less than 100 days, while families in the US and other developed countries sat down for dinner, 800,000 Rwandans were slaughtered.

The Rwandan Genocide is just one example.  Every day, we see evidence of suffering—whether it is walking by a homeless man on the street, viewing a 30 second clip on the evening news, or reading a blog like this one.  The enormity of it all is overwhelming.

  • 26,500 children die every day of preventable causes related to poverty (equivalent to 100 jetliners crashing)
  • 500,000 women die in childbirth every year – deaths that are largely preventable
  • 12.3 million people are trafficked for commercial sex or forced labor
  • 163 million children are orphans

This constant bombardment is numbing and often causes us to say, “oh my, that is horrible,” and then go on living our lives.  We erroneously believe that because we cannot solve the entire problem, there is nothing for us to do.

I firmly believe that there are some battlefields that I am not called to fight on.  For example, if the issue involves environment or animal rights issues, please call someone else.  I don’t have the capacity.  That said, I also believe that everyone should pick a fight.  It will be different for everyone, but we all have something that should take us away from our dinners.

I recently met a man who spent several years of his young life as a house slave.  When he was 12 years old, someone intervened.  He was able to attend school for the first time.  Throughout his life, people continued to come alongside and support him.  He finished university, married and developed a successful career.  Today, this man and his wife have established an orphanage to care for similarly vulnerable children.  He has picked his fight.

At 100X we’ve seen similar stories with children like Andiseni and Galina, and our house mom Naomi. The people who intervened didn’t eliminate human trafficking or world hunger, but they did dramatically change one life.  That is what it takes.  If each of us will navigate our way through the deluge of statistics, pick our fight, and find the one life that we can influence, we will be able to press back against the darkness.

What is your fight?  If it is orphan care, education, human trafficking prevention, or health, we’d love for you to join us!

Kimberly CaseySpecial Assistant and Program Manager