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This past year, my husband and I were able to have a front-row seat on the HIV/AIDS situation in Africa and for 12 months we were able to personally meet many who are affected by the horrifying disease in the small country of Malawi, Africa. Malawi, the 3rd poorest country in the world, is home to over 1 million orphans—many of whom have had one or both parents die from AIDS. It is THE MOST prevalent cause of death and the major factor of the low life expectancy of just 43 years. So, in light of it being World AIDS Day and these horrific HIV/AIDS facts, I’d like to share this quick story from Malawi of happiness, hope and life.
While living in Malawi, I was able to work alongside some amazing people who teach at the many Orphan Daycare Centers that Equitas supports. This specific Daycare Center is in the village of Chilumba, located in the southern region of Malawi, where hunger pains and the reality of AIDS are often coupled together to constitute the normalcy of life. I visited Chilumba in April, along with my American colleague, Sarah.
Since our humbling and eye-opening visit in April, Sarah contacted and started communicating with UNICEF to see if they would provide a tin/sheet-metal roof for the daycare (most roof structures are a simple, thatched-style that needs to be replaced every year after rainy season). After several months of communicating, UNICEF agreed to provide the roofing and, in addition, decided to provide a playground for this daycare center! I hadn’t seen playground equipment in all my time in Malawi, especially not in a village. In a world where death surrounds them, and droughts and hunger confine them, I can only imagine the laughter, smiles and hope that the provision of a roof and a playground brings to these 100+ children of Chilumba.
Today, on World AIDS Day, I am so grateful for UNICEF providing the structural needs for this daycare center, and equally grateful for the many who give towards Equitas for the daily allowances of food, medication, and education that is delivered to these children of Chilumba! Thank you, Equitas!