Photo from Flicker user mick y. Creative Commons licence.
Scenes like this are noticeable all over Africa, children looking after their younger siblings.
Sadly nowadays, one or both of their parents has died from AIDS and the eldest has to look after the younger children.
In Malawi, one such girl is Melise, aged 13, who cares for her younger siblings aged 7 and 5. Her mother died three years ago and her father two. Normally, following tradition, aunts and uncles would take the children in but, as is often the case, those same people have considerable problems of their own.
Melise, Thom and Chifundo have stayed in the house their father built because there is no room with relatives, but they aren't able to grow their own maize. Relatives leave them maize and other things but it is not enough. Melise has to sell fruit on the roadside in the afternoon after school, as well as caring for the others, taking them to school, then walking 8 kilometres (5 miles) to her own school.
"“We don’t sell much. At least we could manage sells up to K150 (about 50 pence) a day which is enough to see us through several days,” she said."
Photo by Flickr user dkrrys. Creative Commons Licence.
There was no shortage of photos for me to choose from. Malawi doesn't have the means to provide a social welfare service so there are many children in the same position.
In Melise's case a small charity, Ababa Malawi, provides food once a week. In some ways Melise is lucky.