While Malawi Children’s Village has never had an orphanage, and instead has relied on village based care, the need for an on site infant care facility was recognized at an early date. MCV’s village volunteers and fieldwork team often identify infants in the villages that require closer monitoring and care than families in the villages can provide. In some cases these are infants that lost their mother right after birth, in other cases they are infants that have become extremely malnourished and underweight, and occasionally they are infants sick with HIV/AIDS. (Without ARVs, HIV positive mothers pass infection on to their children at birth approximately 30% of the time.)
In order to care for these infants Malawi Children’s Village built the Nutritional Rehabilitation Center, known locally as “the Nursery.” The center was designed to house and care for infants until they are healthy enough to return to the villages and be cared for by their extended family. Typically infants stayed at the center for one to two years. Unfortunately, due to the poor health of many of these infants when they entered the center, infant deaths were not uncommon, and some children never returned to the villages.
In 2007, MCV’s nursery was destroyed by fire. While thankfully no babies or staff were harmed in the fire, the center was destroyed. After the construction of a temporary center housed the infants for some time, Open Arms Infant Home came to an agreement with MCV to construct and run a new center next to MCV’s campus. Open Arms Mangochi now runs a beautiful facility with the capacity to house 50 infants. The organization holds some of the same core values as MCV in the way they care for orphans. Infants are housed temporarily at the center where they receive excellent care, and when they are able, they are returned to their extended family in the villages, where outreach workers continue to monitor their welfare.
Please note that while MCV and Open Arms maintain a healthy partnership and serve the same orphan population of Mangochi, they are independent organizations with separate staff and donations to MCV do not fund Open Arms Mangochi. For more information about the nursery please visit their website: www.openarmsmalawi.org/content/Open_Arms_Mangochi