Family life in Malawi is not always straightforward for the children that we see. And as one of the older children that we care for Blessings has seen this first hand.
Blessings and his twin sister
Blessings as a toddler
At 15 years old, Blessings now lives at Rose’s house with his foster siblings and mother. Life has thrown him a lot of changes to overcome and Open Arms has been a consistent support for him. He was referred to us from Zomba Hospital with his twin sister after they were both born prematurely.
Blessings thrived and grew to be a happy and healthy little boy. His Aunt continued to visit and at age 2, Blessings returned home to live with her. His twin had to remain at Open Arms due to health conditions that would make life difficult for her and her family in their village.
Sadly though, Blessings Aunt died and there was no one to look after him. As you can imagine this was extremely traumatic as he was still very young and dependant. During his time in the village, he developed malnutrition, became quiet and reserved and his growth suffered.
The effects of stunting in Malawi
Sadly, stunting is a common problem in Malawi, affecting 50% of children under the age of five. It is caused by poor nutrition and can have serious long term affects on social and cognitive behaviour.
When Social Welfare discovered that Blessings no longer had a guardian, they approached Open Arms and in 2009 he was taken back in to Open Arms. In the four years that he had been away he had gained only 3kg compared to his sister who had gained 12kg over the same time period. He was given a lot of extra support when he moved back with Open Arms.
As he grew, Blessings started school and the additional support from Open Arms continued with IT lessons, homework club and more tailored one to one care. He has been at two different schools but neither have worked out and so in February he started a different school that is set up to give the additional care that he needs. These are complicated problems and require lots of time to work through but with our support Blessings is able to try new things to help himself.
The love of a family and security of a home
With the security of his foster mum, siblings and a school that is resourced for him we hope that this will be a new chapter for Blessings and that he can complete his primary education. Blessings is a quiet boy with a wonderful smile who enjoys football club and is particularly good at art.
Open Arms will continue to support Blessings with the extra help he needs. We do not know what the future holds for him but with your help, we can make sure that he continues to have our care and guidance.
If you’d like to find out about sponsoring a child with Open Arms so that they can get the support that they need, please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org