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Erin Brennan Burke volunteering at our Blantyre Home

Erin Brennan Burke spent the early part of this year volunteering for Open Arms during her gap year. We’re truly grateful for everything she has done to help the children in Blantyre and Mangochi.

Throughout her time with Open Arms, she wrote a blog about the affection she shared with the infants, as well as her impression of Open Arms’ mission. “This is truly a special place. I have not only fallen in love with the kids, but also with the concept and sustainability of the organisation. They do not call themselves an orphanage because they do not intend to keep vulnerable children in institutional care for their entire lives. Instead, Open Arms aims to empower families and enable communities to provide for their own.”

Erin Brennan Burke Volunteering Malawi 1

Erin spent time working alongside the ‘mothers’ of our Blantyre Home, learning from them as they went about their day-to-day activities, caring for Malawi’s orphaned infants. Volunteers that come to Open Arms help in a variety of ways. With several houses that support children of all ages, daily activities can include anything from feeding the tiny babies, to singing songs with the toddlers, to helping the older children with their homework.

We also encourage our visitors to share their experiences of the world with the children; to show them new games to play, to have fun with them, and to tell stories that will capture their hearts and imaginations. Whilst Erin was with us, she helped some of our newest arrivals make Open Arms their home. She saw some of the smallest, most vulnerable babies arrive with us – and watched them grow as part of the Open Arms family.

Erin Brennan Burke Volunteering Malawi 2

Erin shares in her blog that some of her highlights included “helping Iviolata practice walking” and “singing ‘The Wheels on the Bus’ for Loveness”, which we know Loveness was thrilled about – as she insisted Erin sing it again and again!

Grace celebrated her seventh birthday whilst Erin was in Blantyre and Erin recalls: “We went out for cheesecake together at a fancy restaurant, shared silly laughs, and danced”. 

Then there was two-year-old Ishallah, who Erin sat with when he had a fever, re-dampening a cloth with cold water to keep him cool. 

Erin Brennan Burke Volunteering Malawi 3

It is these selfless tasks we mostly remember Erin for, and the strong mutual affection she shared with our children. Despite having now returned to America, Erin won’t be forgotten at Open Arms, and we hope her story inspires more volunteers to visit us and care for Malawi’s children.

If you would like to find out more about volunteering at Open Arms in Malawi, please visit our website to request more information or email us.

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