Leaning in and Learning: A Story of Rewarded Perseverance
Thursday, April 14, marked the beginning of a dream for four boys at Thuchila Hope Center. Steven Silva, Kenneth Macheso, Wym Shadreck and Mphatso Manyenje moved into a temporary dormitory in the home of Director Victor Mkolongo to begin their courses of study at Mt. Soche College near his home.
You may remember Wym’s story from a prior newsletter--asked to repeat form 4 (senior year in high school) a third time, he almost abandoned his education. Today, he has not only successfully graduated from high school, but is beginning study in automotive engineering. Steven Silva is another of our kids for whom school has not been easy. To walk into Thuchila Hope Center is to be warmly welcomed by Steven whose broad grin, open manner, and attentive listening all demonstrate his heart for people and his desire to learn. Knowing him is to want others to know him and be uplifted by his helping heart and his joy. But the written exams necessary to succeed in school posed a major obstacle in Steven's pursuit of a degree in Community Development.
Responding to government demands that the quality of college education be improved, tertiary level schools around the country have recently increased their entry requirements (without any corresponding upgrade in secondary-level education quality!). Our efforts to connect Steven with a teaching college or community development program had been stymied on all sides by these new demands until we discovered an opening at Mt. Soche. Right at the brink of despairing that there would be no chance for Steven's gifts to be grown and his talents to shine, this program offered new hope.
We celebrate with Steven, Kenneth, Wym, and Mphatso that their perseverance in the face of a challenging education system has now paid off with this new opportunity! Steven's dream is to return to the village after finishing his education so that, equipped with his new knowledge, he can further the sort of work that Miqlat is doing by caring for the very young and the very old. We praise God that we at Miqlat are in a position to help these young men build their skills so that their hard work up to this point can be beneficial not only to themselves, but to others as well!
Guardians Need Love Too!
Did you know that cervical cancer is the biggest cancer killer of women in Malawi and that Malawi has the highest death rate from this type of cancer in the world? What makes that fact even more devastating is that it is a totally preventable disease - - and even in the developing world, there are simple, inexpensive ways to keep women from developing it. But, “We perish from lack of knowledge,” and the uneducated women in the villages surrounding our Hope Centers often lack knowledge in every area of life outside their own limited context. . . And why is an orphan care organization concerned about the health of the women of Malawi? Simply because most of our children are being raised by single female relatives and we believe it’s essential for the children’s well-being to care for their care givers. How sad it would be for these already abandoned young ones to be orphaned for a second time!
Consequently, after many months of planning, we have just begun our second community outreach project (our first being our preschool) – cervical cancer education and screening for our guardians. Twice a week, beginning last month, students from the local nursing college are being transported to Kogoya Hope Center (the pilot site for this project – Thuchila will follow soon) to educate, counsel and test as many women as are willing to participate. So far, the exam results have all been negative, but should someone require treatment, we have partnered with a local Seventh Day Adventist Mission Hospital to do whatever it takes to return the women to complete health. For $100, a woman can even be given a complete hysterectomy if necessary! We are extremely grateful to the local Rotary Club for financing this project so far, and we are confident the Lord will bring the funding we need to continue blessing the “moms” of Miqlat!