One of the leading orphanage centres in the northern region city of Mzuzu, Walusungu Orphan Care, risks closure due to critical shortage of resources for running the institution.
Situated in Chasefu residential area near Mzuzu Stadium, the orphanage, established in 2007 to cater for orphans that could slowly becoming street kids, is manned by five elderly women. They themselves, depend on street begging, to feed over one hundred orphans that the center caters for.
However, the women said in an interview at their facility, that they can no longer accumulate sufficient money from people as beggars on the streets, because of the tough economic times.
“The kids are starving due to shortage of food, and we are being forced to go on the street and beg so that they can have something to eat,” Chairlady for the center Magret Nthundu Mkandawire, said.
She said previously, the orphanage could survive on donations, such as maize, and other food stuffs from well-wishers. One of these is the former Mzuzu city parliamentarian, Peter Mwanza, who at one point donated ten bags of Maize; Shoprite, TNM, and CITI HOPE International have also been the centre’s benefactors.
The chairperson said they are failing to sustain the institution since most of the sponsors stopped making donations, hence they can feed the orphans only on Saturdays.
“We usually start going on the street for begging from Monday to Friday, and buy food from whatever we have sourced, and then feed them (orphans) on Saturday,” she said.
“This explains why we have high rate of malnutrition and street kids.”
However, she accused the surrounding community members who are beneficiaries of the Centre, for failing to mobilize support for the facility. She said this creates a picture lack of ownership and failure to appreciate the impact of the facility in the community.
But reacting to the concern, block leader for the area, Alex Kondowe, confirmed that the community has not provided support to the Centre, and promised to start mobilizing the community.
“I can’t hide here, we have really not delivered anything to the Centre due to financial problems; but I can assure you, I will try my best to mobilize the people to extend their hands to the facility for its sustainability,” said Kondowe.