In 2004 Ernest Pondeponde, a resident of Zomba district, decided he wanted to do something to improve the quality of life for the youth in his home village. He believed that education was key to achieving this, however many of these children could not afford the school fees in order to attend secondary school.
In a matter of months, the first few steps were taken towards enabling these underprivileged children to access education. Equally important, Ernest wanted the youth to understand the role that education plays in escaping the cycle of poverty. From under the mango tree where he would regularly meet with a handful of children, Grace Orphan Care was born.
Today, the community based organization has expanded its goals to include the following:
- Paying for the secondary school fees of approximately 20 youths
- Running a kindergarten program each morning in which 75 young children learn basic social and language skills
- Hosting a variety of extra curricular activities such as youth groups and organized sports
- Promoting basic health and sanitation awareness including an understanding of HIV/AIDS
- Home Based Care for vulnerable community members with limited resources/mobility
Zomba is a town of about 100,000 located in the southern half of Malawi. Grace Orphan Care is located about 6 km from the center of the town, in the village of Chilemere.
According to the IMF, Malawi had the seventh lowest GDP per capita in 2012. Furthermore, the prevalence of HIV/AIDS (approximately 6% according to the AVERT, the international AIDS/HIV Charity) makes every day a struggle for many Malawians.