Child-headed households are sadly common in Malawi, where extreme poverty, illness, hunger and social problems have led to a breakdown of traditional care structures. Particularly in rural areas, where impoverished communities struggle to offer support, there are many households run by the eldest sibling, who work tirelessly to provide for their younger brothers and sisters and to give them the childhood they deserve.

On the recent WeSeeHope supporter trip in March, Alan, Mike and Meg met a Zione, a young girl of 18 who is looking after four children on her own. Below is her story…

 

 

WeSeeHope is working with existing community structures across Malawi (and the other countries they work in) to help give young people like Zione the support they need to run their households and build better futures. Pre-schools and Kids Clubs give the younger children safe places to learn and play, and open up the family to a support network of other guardians. They help the family become less isolated, rehabilitating and reintegrating them back into the community.

Not only does WeSeeHope’s work give isolated young people the emotional and social support they so desperately need, it also gives them the opportunity to increase their household income and build a more sustainable future. Through vocational training programmes and VIP groups, those like Zione can learn a trade, earn a living and save money to invest later, whilst the children in their care are at pre-school or Kids Club.