Since 2006 the Lord has burdened Acts 3 to build a Children’s home in Malawi Africa to care for orphans and vulnerable children. Below is a brief outline of the history of this project.
From our beginnings of ministry in Malawi (November 2003), we were immediately confronted with the overwhelming and dire needs of the orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi. In every village and town we would visit, there was never a shortage of children that were in need
As we researched the issue, we found that there were estimated to be between 1 and 2 million orphans under age 15 in a country that had an estimated population of only 13 million. Many of the children were orphaned due to Aids. At the time, it was estimated that 1 in 6 adults in Malawi had Aids.
During this stage of Malawi’s government, full-time orphanages were discouraged. The government rather encouraged people in the community to take in these orphans and vulnerable children. Given the extreme poverty in the country (ranked near last according to the CIA World Factbook at the time), this proved to be difficult given that the average Malawi woman had over 6.1 children of her own.
During this time period, all we could do was work with several “Orphan Daycare” centers that provided a safe place during the day, but were required to send them out to find a place in the community at night. So we would take food, medicines, take teams to minister to them, and ship clothing and such.
Meanwhile, we were forming our NGO (non profit) there in Malawi and seeking approval to be permitted to house orphans permanently.
In 2006, our NGO was formed and approved for operation in Malawi. It was then that the Lord provided two plots of land, nearly two acres, in the City of Blantyre, Malawi. The property borders the large village of Ndirande.
Right away we began terracing the sloped property by hand to make it ready for the brick fence
The building of the 2 acre brick fence would take several months due to the hand excavating, the availability of cement, and the need for millions of handmade bricks.
Once the fence was completed and the property secured, we began the hand excavation of the site to prepare for the construction of the orphanage.
The prep work for the foundation, along with the architectural drawings and necessary building permit took us through the beginning of 2007. By May, 2007, the site was ready to begin laying the foundation of the Acts III Children’s home.
2007 – 2010
The final design of the building was to essentially construct six buildings under one roof. Each section was divided by corridors. The building is designed to house 96 children: 48 girls and 48 boys. The dorms / hostels for the children are laid out so that each has 12 bedrooms designed to have 2 sets of bunk beds (4 beds total) in each. Both hostels have their own toilets and showers.
The center of the building houses the kitchen and dining hall in the front, with a medical wing in the rear. The medical wing is designed to host a live-in medical professional (nurse or doctor) to care for the children full-time. It also features a treatment, a sickbay, and area for quarantine.
In sum, there are a total of five live in suites for caregivers. In addition, there is a three room suite attached to rear corner of the building to serve as a live-in home for the security guard and his family. By the fall of 2007 the shell of the orphanage was complete. On the interior, 4 of the 5 live-in suites were completed as well. All that was remaining was the majority of the plumbing, electrical and inside plastering of the hostels.
(The only change to the drawing is that the laundry areas pictured on the side, had to be moved to the rear of the building)
It was at this time we began having great difficulties with completion. In the three years between 2007 and 2010, our ministry had three separate missionary families that moved to Malawi to help complete and oversee the project and ministry. All three lasted only a few months before returning home. At the same time, we were faced with some thefts from Malawian supervisors. Another obstacle during this phase was various permits. For example, it took us 3 1/2 years just to have our permanent electricity hooked up. With the project at a standstill, we ceased raising funds until such time as progress was being made.
During this stagnant period, the building and grounds were used as a primary school and an orphan day care center, but that is all we were allowed to do without it being completed.
May 2010 – February 2015
After failing for several years to advance the project and complete the building, we felt maybe a change was needed. It was in May of 2010 that we handed over the operation and completion of the Children’s Home to a sister ministry in the UK. They had much more experience and expertise in the area. We stayed involved, but left the operation and decision making to them.
During this time period, many of the rooms were plastered and the permanent power was finally established, but no substantial progress was made on other areas (i.e. electrical and plumbing). Unfortunately for the Malawi project, our sister ministry began growing by leaps and bounds in many other countries around the world. Their success in places like Ghana drastically limited their time, funds and resources for dedication to the Malawi children’s home.
As 2014 came to a close and 2015 dawned, the Orphanage Project suffered several thefts of windows and such being ripped out of the brick and concrete. In one of the robberies, a guard was cut badly. This was the end of the line for their direct involvement. After much prayer and discussion, they handed the project back over to Acts 3 to complete.
In March 2015, our director, Randy McEwen, traveled back to Malawi with $6,000 the Lord had provided just before his departure. While there, the Lord opened many doors of partnership for the completion of the project. A new Board of Trustees was chosen and installed, work progressed rapidly, new security measures and monitoring were put in place, and many partnerships were forged with local business leaders and government officials. One of our new partners is one of the advisors to the President of Malawi.
In just one week of his trip, the girls hostel was almost fully completed. All of the stolen windows were replaced, the plastering of the toilets and showers were complete, and the girls toilets were being set as he left. Also, all new electrical wires had been run in the girls dorm and in parts of the rest of the building (the wires had all been previously stolen out of the conduit).
During this miracle week, Mr. McEwen and Pastor Zach Dzinemba (one of the leaders on the Board of Trustees) met with the director of the Ministry of Gender that oversees orphanages in the Blantyre district and began the formal application process to house orphans. This process will be completed when the building is finished so that the Certificate of Occupancy can be granted.
The Way Forward
It would seem that the Lord has now placed all of the pieces of the puzzle together. There is now a dependable, ethical and professional board of trustees in Malawi that are committed and personally invested in the completion and operation of this Children’s Home. The leadership there includes godly men and women that are Attorneys, Doctors, Accountants, Engineers, Business Professionals, and the like.
The Lord has opened doors with local hardware suppliers that are giving us deep discounts on materials and professional and affordable contractors to complete the work. Likewise, the Lord’s grace and mercy have provided us with police protection for the site and friends within the government to make sure we obtain necessary paperwork and permits without delay.
All that we are lacking at this point to complete Stage 1 of the project is approximately $54,000. This amount will complete the interior work on the Children’s Home to a point that we will be able to pass inspection and begin getting orphans and vulnerable children off the street. There is currently a backlog of children that are awaiting placement. Time is of the essence. Currently, Acts 3 is sending as much as it can monthly to keep the progress going. Once these funds are raised, it would take less than 30 days to complete the building and thereby secure the permit to begin accepting and housing orphans and vulnerable children. Our prayers are to have the building (Stage 1) complete by June, 2015.
Once the building is complete, the Ministry of Gender will begin assigning us children to take in. Our goal is to take in 10 at a time, starting with girls as they are the most vulnerable to rape and molestation. As the children come in, we are required to provide for their medical needs, education, and their general care. We will have to have full-time, live in staff to care for the children. These positions will include an Administrator over the orphanage itself, male and female care-givers, kitchen staff, and security personnel.
The requirements are stringent and costly. As such, we will be praying for partners to come alongside us and adopt each orphan through sponsorship. As more sponsors are raised, we will be able to give more orphans a home.
Current estimates for the staffing, electricity, meals, bedding, furniture, clothing, education, mosquito netting, and healthcare are estimated to be around $300-$400 initial cost to bring a child in (beds, bedding, shots, clothing, school uniforms, etc) and then around $300 per month per child after that. Some of the costs will go down as more children are added
Our prayer, goal and expectation is to have children living in the home by the end of July, 2015.
Once we start taking in children, we will need to begin building 5 additional classroom buildings. In the beginning, the dining hall and unused areas will be able to suffice. Once we grow beyond 20-25 children, we will need to begin constructing the classrooms. Each one will be large enough to teach 20-25 children. The estimate is that it will take $30,000 per building and that includes the building, electrical, plumbing, desks, and chairs.
we have been granted land in 13 other villages that have asked us for orphanages, churches and schools. As the Lord raises up partners, we will pursue these areas as well.
How You Can Partner With Us for these Children
It is difficult to learn of the rape, molestation, Aids infection, exploitation and the plight of the orphans in Malawi and not want to help, so we appreciate you reading this far. There are several ways you can get involved. Here are some suggestions:
- You can come on a mission trip with us to Malawi and use your talents and gifts in construction, electrical work and plumbing.
- You can help us financially by either donating online through our GoFundMe link or by donating directly to our ministry in one of our two locations (or by mail).
- If your funds are tight, you can also donate any usable items from your closet, garage, or attic to our thrift stores.
- Pray for doors to be open for us to speak at churches and for the Lord to raise up partners for this project and the vulnerable children in Malawi.
- When we reach Stage 2, pray about you, your family, Sunday School class, or other group adopting the sponsorship of an orphan / vulnerable child.
- Just pray for the Children in Malawi and for the Lord to raise up people to help care for them.
- Speak with your Church about formally partnering with us.
If you have any additional ideas, thoughts, or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us either by phone or email.
“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.” (James 1:27, NIV84).
To Learn More…
To learn about the Malawi Mission, please explore the links below and the rest of the site.
Click here for more information on the situation in the country of Malawi.
Click here to see more pictures of the project.