What We Do
Miqlat’s work in Malawi began with one basic premise: respond to the Gospel imperative to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, tend the sick, and care for the fatherless. By building relationships between churches and individuals in the U.S. and Malawi, Miqlat meets Malawi’s challenges head on, supplementing the needs of the most vulnerable children in two of Malawi’s southern rural districts through child sponsorship, community projects, short-term mission trips, and improved elementary school education. Our work has grown from the base-line imperative as God has given us opportunities to do more than meet the need to survive. Now we feel the challenge: we're living in the Kingdom; what does it mean to build lives that THRIVE?
Our child sponsorship program is the primary focus and function of Miqlat in Malawi. The Hope Centers were founded on the desire to: respond to the Gospel call to meet Jesus among the poor and do whatever was needed to keep at risk children alive. Initially, Miqlat staff worked with community leaders to evaluate the needs of each village in our area and identify the most desperately vulnerable. These children were then connected to a sponsor in the United States who, through a donation of $40 per month, would meet their basic needs with abundant love, and expand their access to opportunity. In the years since Kogoya Hope Center opened its doors in 2006, we have added our second Hope Center at Thuchila and transitioned from working exhaustively to give our children the basic tools to survive to striving creatively to offer our children the opportunity to flourish and thrive. There are five foundational pillars that create the support structure for our growing leaders: optimal nutrition, access to quality health care and education, and life-giving spiritual and agricultural training.
While many expect that the best way to help vulnerable children is to build orphanages to house them, at Miqlat we have seen the strong communal heart of Malawi and believe that God can use us best by serving the children in the homes where they stay with their aunts, grandmothers, or other relatives. They join us at the Hope Centers in the afternoons, finding us a safe space of care and recreation in their day. In this way, we hope to integrate with the community rather than remove the children from it and we believe that what is received at the Hope Centers makes its way back home to brothers, sisters, and neighbors.
Our sponsored children attend school each day and then converge on the Hope Centers for a hefty and nutritionally balanced meal. After lunch, an afternoon program begins featuring discipleship class, board games, organized sports, creative activities such as knitting and crocheting, or singing and prayer. The key element of this time period is that there are loving and engaged adults participating with our children in all of these activities, showing them that they are worth listening to, worth playing with, and worth caring for. Through sponsorship, our children have their physical and tangible needs met on the one hand and their less obvious but monumentally important spiritual, mental, and emotional needs met on the other.
In addition to our child sponsorship program, Miqlat works with the community to increase the overall wellness of our villages. We have drilled many safe water wells, offered free clinic days, repaired houses after difficult rainy seasons, hosted pastor’s conferences and community prayer days, offered Foundations for Farming trainings and competitions, and even started an HPV screening and prevention program. Working hand in hand with village chiefs and other community leaders, we stay informed about unusual challenges around the area and offer our support as we are able.
Currently, we are developing a project to come alongside our older girl students who, due to a lack of sanitary protection during their monthly cycle, regularly miss a few days of school out of every month. An affordable and washable sanitary pad has been created to address this widespread problem and we are exploring how we might fund and create these essential supplies for our Hope Center girls.
If you are interested in supporting our endeavors in the community at large, would you consider donating directly to our general projects fund?
SHORT-TERM MISSION TRIPS
Short term mission trips are one of the best ways that our friends in the U.S. can connect to our work in Malawi and leverage their skills and time as well as their funds. These trips offer an opportunity for both Americans and Malawians to meet God in a unique context through new people, and to receive the richness of growth that comes from leaving behind what is known and extending themselves to give and receive love across cultural lines. We believe that this mixing of cultures is reflective of God’s Kingdom and ultimately all people are better for the encountering of new and different stories. Short term teams often coordinate with our community projects, providing energy and manpower to do more than our day-to-day. In the past, trips have centered on participating in youth camps, working on construction and maintenance projects, and serving alongside our staff at the centers, loving and encouraging the children to be all they were created to be.
Ultimately, short term trips are about connecting the family, bringing together brothers and sisters from either side of the world in one Kingdom endeavor. We subscribe to the following missions model:
Recruit: Give people an opportunity; watch the Lord do His recruiting.
Train: Equip as the Lord leads us with the understanding that preparation needs to be for the whole person.
Send: Take people along with us, saying, "Come with us; see the Lord do amazing things in your life as you venture out of your comfort zone".
Challenge: After their short-term mission trip, challenge them: What is the Lord telling you now? What is next for you? One of many results of the challenge phase is a project that is developed based on the call of the individual person and what they hear from the Lord.
The Bridge: When you put all of the above pieces together, a bridge is built in a foreign country as we come alongside the Malawi-side team to assist them in their tangible expansion of Christ's love.
The average student to teacher ratio in Malawi public elementary schools is 88:1. Even a well-paid, well-trained, well-resourced teacher would struggle to attend to each student in this high density environment. Unfortunately, the schools in the rural districts we serve also fight to acquire qualified teachers, learning materials, and even suitable classroom buildings. Unicef estimates that the Malawi elementary school system currently functions with a shortage of 30,000 classrooms.
Though the situation has been improving slowly throughout the last decade, God has put a vision for high quality education for our children in the hearts of the Miqlat team. In 2016, He provided the funding and we enthusiastically embarked on our long anticipated school project - to create elementary schools for grades 1–8 at each Hope Center.
In September of 2016, in fulfillment of the initial part of the vision, the Miqlat Primary School at Kogoya opened its doors to 76 students. In September of 2017, Thuchila Primary School will be birthed.
Each year from now until the completion of the schools, we plan to build two new classrooms at each Hope Center, bringing on new teachers, new staff, and new students as each subsequent building materializes.
Miqlat schools are marked by the same love and principles as the rest of the Miqlat organization and our teachers are treated as part of the Hope Center field staff family. Selected from recent teacher college graduates, Miqlat teachers have been tackling the challenge of instructing students with a broad range of previously acquired skills while learning new teaching techniques and experimenting with unfamiliar materials and perspectives on child development themselves. Though we are still facing the village challenges of guardians who ask children to stay home from school to do chores, the Miqlat School has been met with an enthusiastic response from our students who are eager for any knowledge or interaction we are able to offer them.