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Community-Based Care - helping vulnerable families stay together and thrive together

Despite not having the resources to nurse a premature newborn, Tamara* refused to release her niece into care. She had already lost her sister and could not bear the thought of losing her sister’s child also.

Rejoice's story

Baby Rejoice* was born by emergency c-section at a Blantyre hospital in June 2023. Her mother was rushed into surgery, critically ill with pre-eclampsia, but tragically died during the delivery. Despite being born a month early and weighing a tiny 2kg, with special care in the pre-term ward at hospital, baby Rejoice survived her difficult start to life.

Determined to honour her sister and keep her family together, Rejoice’s aunt Tamara* stepped in to take on her care, as well as that of Rejoice’s six-year-old sister. But as a single mother of three who relies on piecework and small harvests from her garden to provide for her family, Tamara couldn’t possibly afford the milk and other essentials a new-born requires to grow and develop healthily. 

 Initially, she had been relying on the hospital to supply infant formula, but they could only help for so long. Like 92% of young children in Malawi, Rejoice was at serious risk of malnutrition and illness. Her aunt was facing a dilemma no-one should ever have to face.

Brenda In The Hospital

Sadly, her story is not uncommon in Malawi.

With one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, one in five Malawian households look after an orphaned or abandoned child. But with nearly 74% of the population living below the international poverty line (World Bank, 2023) and surviving on just over £1 a day, the costs of taking on an extra child can simply be too much. As a result, these children often do not have adequate nutrition, shelter or care, nor do they have access to healthcare or education.

This is why Open Arms exists - and why we are incredibly excited to be evolving and expanding our services to help family's just like Rejoice's out of their desperate situation. There are not merely another statistic - but real people with a real story.

Providing a lifeline for families at risk

Open Arms received a call from Social Welfare when Rejoice was three months old and weighing a tiny 3.4kgs. As her aunt was available and determined to care for her, they were perfect candidates for Community-Based Care and were placed on the programme as soon as the necessary assessments were carried out.  

With regular visits from Matron Eniffer to check on Rejoice’s health, growth and development, deliver lifesaving infant formula, baby porridge (likuni phala) and medicine, plus essentials such as bottles, blankets, clothing and soap, devoted aunt Tamara is now more than able to raise Rejoice in her home without worrying about her health and development being compromised.

Rejoice With Aunt And Eniffer

Eniffer shared that Tamara "is very thankful for the support. It has helped her to concentrate on her garden and family rather than going around begging for milk for Rejoice."

The team will also work with Tamara to get the most out of her garden and harvests – providing either goats or chickens and banana suckers, so she can not only produce more food for her family, but have enough surplus to sell - thereby generating additional income and starting her journey towards self-sufficiency.

We urgently need your help

Our Community-Based Care Programme is continually expanding as more and more families desperately need our help. Our dream is to support all children referred to us with living relatives to grow up healthy and loved in their own family home, from as early an age as possible.

As this is over and above our existing work, we urgently need your help to provide the additional funding required to reach as many vulnerable families as possible.

A one-off gift today will help provide the crucial early intervention needed to keep a family at risk together and protect their child's future. 

£10 will provide a family with banana suckers to grow and sell - providing them with food as well as an income.

£30 will provide a family with goats or chickens to raise and breed, helping them towards food security and financial independence. 

£75 will provide a family with a year's worth of essential medical supplies  (multivitamins, water tablets, mosquito nets, antibiotics, skin creams, analgesics).

will gift a family with a bundle of new-born essentials  (baby blankets, rompers, hats, clothes, bottles, bottle brush, cup, spoon, plate and 5L bucket).

£500 will provide a baby at home with the infant formula and likuni phala porridge flour needed to support their growth and development for a year.

£1,500 will provide full sponsorship for one family for an entire year.

Children sitting with their grandmother outside a brick house

No family should be torn apart by poverty

Please join with us and give what you can to help those most at risk.

Together, and only together, can we help to build brighter futures for Malawi’s vulnerable children.

Thank you.

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Your donation will help children in Malawi grow up healthy with the love of a family


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