Welcome to Chimwemwe.net

This is the website of Chimwemwe Children's Centre.

smiling boyChimwemwe supports vulnerable children and their families affected and infected by HIV/AIDS. The project was set-up in January 2009 for the children on the streets of Blantyre, Malawi. It aims to bring long-term change in the lives of the children, by supporting them in their family/community and helping them to gain education and training, to break the cycle of poverty.

Malawi faces many socio-economic challenges with poverty being an overwhelming obstacle. 65.3% of the population live below the poverty line of $1 per day. This problem is compounded by poor infrastructures, a lack of resources, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, chronic food shortages, acute hunger, and increased government debts. The life expectancy for the people in Malawi has decreased to 39 years due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, which is estimated to be affecting up to 25% of the population in urban areas and 13% in rural areas.

The plight of the children of Malawi is a stark example of the devastating effects of poor socio-economic conditions.

There are over one million orphans in Malawi. 49% of the children under the age of 5 are stunted through malnourishment. Infant mortality is at 104 deaths and under-5 mortality at 189 deaths per 1000 births. Orphans and other vulnerable children are prone to sexual abuse and sex work. In addition, the most vulnerable households send their children to the streets to beg.

Despite the introduction of free primary education in 1994, net enrolment in school has remained at 78% because parents and guardians cannot afford school uniforms, writing materials and the school funds required for the maintenance of school assets. Only 58% of the population is literate, with a 64% male and a 44% female literacy rate. 11.2% of the adults over 25 years of age have completed primary school education and only 6.2% of women and 13% of men have secondary education.

All the projects in Chimwemwe are based around two key principles: child participation; and acting in the best interest of the child. All of the projects are based on the needs and priorities identified by the children themselves. We help the children to return to their families and communities, and to gain meaningful education and training.

Why do we have a logo of a sheep?

cartoon of sheepWhen the children were asked what they would like to call the project, they said "Chimwemwe" which means "We are happy!" because they were happy that people cared about them. They wanted the logo to be of a sheep because "sheep are quiet and friendly, like us!"

Main aims

smiling young boyThe programme's main aims are to help the street children of Blantyre to reach their full potential. As well as getting the children off the streets, we help the children gain an education or trade, and support the children's reintegration back into their community and away from a life of poverty and crime. To date, Chimwemwe has worked with 91 boys and 7 girls. Over 75% of these children have lost one or both parents, predominantly from the effects of HIV/AIDS. The programme has assisted over 20 children back into school, by providing school uniforms, school funds and writing materials. For those in secondary school, we have paid for text books, school fees and school funds.

small cheeky-looking boyChimwemwe helps children and families in the southern/eastern regions of Malawi, placing special emphasis on those who are vulnerable and marginalised such as girls, the disabled and those from HIV/AIDS affected families.

Please browse through our website to see full details of the projects that we are running.