From Child Head of Household to Children in a HomeRich Stigall
Mary, 13, and Timothy, 4, lived in Lilongwe, Malawi, with their mom who was HIV+. She fought the disease for years, until finally passing away this summer, leaving her children orphaned. No one in the community wanted them, so the kids wisely went back to the hospital to return their mother’s meds in the hopes of getting some food.
The hospital staff stepped in to champion these children, but legally, they didn’t have custody. The government did. They would make the decision on where the children would go. As the government rejected two possible orphan facilities nearby, Mary and Timothy were flagging back in their community.
The hospital provided a bag of maize to incentivize neighbors to care for the kids, but it didn’t help much. Mary was especially vulnerable and signs of beatings were both on her body and in her spirit. Her toddler brother was her responsibility. She was unwanted, abused, losing all hope, and she was all her brother had. Mary was serving as a Child Head of Household (without a household), a fate all too common for the oldest orphaned child in what’s left of their family.
Running out of ideas, the hospital staff asked for help on Facebook. Their pleas from Africa were read and answered by Anne Maseko in Houston. Anne is the oldest daughter of Peter and Emma Maseko, GO Project’s beloved partners in Malawi and the leaders of Pothawira, a safe haven for the orphan.
The government gave their approval, and Mary and Timothy quickly moved into their new home. They now live under the care of their house mama. Their medical needs (Mary is also HIV + and Timothy is recovering from a severe case of malaria) are being handled at Pothawira’s Clinic, and they are attending Pohtawira’s primary school. Mary and Timothy have their childhood back. They have a future. They have a family and a home.
God used a caring hospital staff, social media, a Houston-based doctor daughter of Malawi, her parents who love God’s children, and all who have invested in the lives of the orphan to transform Mary and Timothy’s fate from Uncovered Child Head of Household to Two Welcomed Children in a Home. Praise be to God!