Saturday, 7 June 2008

She does it all.

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.


  1. I have bookmarked you so as not to forget.

    This is an excellent post. I just pray and wish that more people would take the time to read this and leave a comment.

    I too have been doing Blog Blast for the last 3 times.

    Keep up the good work!!

  2. Sad, but oh so true.

    It is not only in the so-called war-ravaged areas or poorer parts of Africa where scenes like these can be found. I stay in South Africa where we are supposed to have a stronger economy etc. Things like this happen right here in my own backyard.

    AIDS does not only have an adverse effect on individuals, it can bring an entire nation to its knees.

    Just a couple of years ago I said that I do not know anyone who has been affected by AIDS. Today I have to say that I do not know of anyone, who knows no-one who has been affected by this scourge.

    To make matters worse most African governments (my country included) take little or no action to try and alleviate the plight of youngsters like those highlighted in your article.

    This is one of those things that the entire world needs to be reminded of as often as possible.

  3. Looking at these photos and seeing how hard life is for African children, I really feel blessed about my own life.

  4. The children are so beautiful. We have sponsored a girl named Mequelina from Mozambique through Save the Children for a few years now. We love receiving her letters and drawings.

  5. We have a nice community from Senegal here in Ollioules and since several years they do a lot for a small village and the children! A few time ago a religious african woman came in my classroom and I gave her books she brought in Africa in her village! i hope to see her soon again!

  6. This is a sad picture and it is true not only in Africa but in several third world countries. Here in the Philippines, it is a sad fact that the number of street children are growing in leaps and bounds and the efforts of NGO's and the government seem not enough to solve this problem.

    God Bless.


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