To provide care and counselling to poor, needy and homeless older persons – where no other service exists.
To provide health care services to poor, needy and homeless older persons, including the provision of preventative and educational programmes relating to HIV/AIDS and support to their families.
To provide basic adult education, training and development of older persons including outreach programmes to marginalized and rural communities.
To provide training for older persons on economic empowerment and continued employment.
To advocate and lobby for the rights of older persons, including the provision of legal, paralegal and investigative services to ensure that their human and democratic rights are recognized and respected.
To conduct relevant social research to form the basis for intervention and development programmes.
It is 98 km from Mangochi boma in area called Mvumba village, Traditional Authority Nankumba. In this area I met a lady, she was seated with her daughter and she is deaf. The two daughters do not work but support their households by going to the mountains to collect firewood which they sell. Her husband passed away in 2003.
Her name is Savera Lilamba and she is a widow, her husband passed away. In her life she has had 9 children, however now she only has two daughters, as the rest had passed away. Her house fell last year in December and now lives with her daughter but stays in the kitchen. Above is the kitchen she lives in.
Savera Lilamba looked healthy and pleasant. She is well taken care of by her daughter; she is helped during her bath time and toileting.
She usually eats porridge, nkhwani (pumpkin leaves) and mpilu (turnip leaves). However she goes without food for two to three days, eating depends on the availability of food.
Founder and Trustee of Unika, Munya Sajanga said this after visiting Hope for the Elderly Centre at Nathenje in Lilongwe, saying her visit to Malawi was to conclude the registration of this charity whose aim was to support the elderly and other vulnerable members of the society. Sajanga said along her tour of duty, she felt it was imperative for her to demonstrate her mission by paying a visit to the centre which she said will be funded by the group of companies that she owns. Hope for the Elderly is situated appropriately Twenty-eight kilometers away from Malawi’s Capital City, Lilongwe along the Lilongwe – Blantyre road.
“I was very touched by the way elders are perceived by the community when they become of age. In some communities they are seen as witches (mfiti), which is not true for these senior citizens…this is why we are geared to forming this grouping to supporting them.” said Sajanga who has already been instrumental in changing the lives of the vulnerable through goods and financial donations which she has rendered through shipment by Wold Cargo International.
Hope for the Elderly has about 150 members. Verina Doctor, 96, is the oldest lady member at the Centre.
“I was greatly overwhelmed by the grand welcome I received from members of the community who were led by the Chief of the area and it was a great day for me” Sajanga explained further.
Sajanga who was accompanied to the site by several officials that included Rodrick Chipsa, Deputy Head for the Hope for the Elderly alongside Deputy Director in the Office of the President, James Ali and an official from Ministry for Elderly and Persons with Disabilities, Steven Vinkhumbo got a positive nod from Village Headman Mkuozi who pledged full co-operation.
“We are happy with your intention, Madam Munya and please tell your colleagues in the UK and other places that we are more than ready to work with you;” the traditional leader said, amid handclapping and ululation from members of the community.
He however asked for other immediate needs such as a mobile clinic which he said could serve as a facility for the elderly not to travel long distances in accessing medical facilities. The Village Head on the other hand asked for a borehole for the provision of clean water to the elderly.
photo 1“Madam, we need clean water here…currently our elders draw water from the stream where the water is usually polluted and contaminated. How then shall they live healthy and happily?” the Chief asked.
Unika is a Chichewa word literally meaning “bring light” and Sajanga fellow trustee is Euphemia Bota whilst Steven Lewis from Canada is the sponsor for Hope for Elderly Centre.
Also speaking the founding member of Hope for the Elderly, Thomas Pondani Mbewe said working with Unika was a welcome development in another speciality which he said was happy about as that would uplift the lives of those in dire-straights.
Unika and Hope for the Elderly will work hand in hand to elivate and support Elders across malawi. Please visit our website www.unika-uk.com for more information and will greatly appreciate any donations.
It is 98 km from Mangochi boma in area called Mvumba village, Traditional Authority Nankumba. In this area I met a lady, very old lady who does not remember her age. As soon as I laid my eyes upon her, something moved within me for I realized there are people out there living a life below the belief of existence. As I approached her home, she was seated on a dirty rug and basking in the sun. She smiled as I made my way and sat next to her, I gave her a hand shake, her hands were so fragile and cold and she was shaking.
Her name is Felia Yohanne and she is a widow, her husband passed away 6 years ago. In her life she has had 15 children, however now she only has a daughter and son, as the rest had passed away. She explained on how her husband had managed to support her when he was alive and how things were much easier and accessible. Currently she stays at a house her nephew had built as her home fell due to the weak structures it had. I asked her if she was ever going to rebuild her home but she said she did not have the finances to start that. Furthermore both the daughter and son show no interest in helping their mother.
Felia Yohanne was seated on a dirty rug, and her clothes were dirty and smelled of urine. Her personal hygiene was that of an old lady who can no longer look after herself. She manages to get up using two sticks for support, she has to crawl about 30 meters to get to her bathroom were she tries to wash herself as there is no one to assist her.
In the past the daughter used to bring food for the mother (Felia Yohanne) but currently she has stopped as she is also looking after her family. She is in this state because the son and daughter sold all her maize and left her with nothing.
She usually eats nsima with fish, nkhwani(pumpkin leaves) and thelele(okra). However she goes without food for two to three days, eating depends on the availability of food.