The Social Work Department is dedicated to empowering clients and other service users by providing valuable knowledge on human rights and related protection issues. Recently, they conducted an engaging orientation session on child and vulnerable adult protection policy and reporting procedures for 7 service users in the adult psychiatry program. During this interactive activity, clients had the opportunity to understand what constitutes abuse and how to effectively report such cases.
TRAINING ON CHILD AND VULNERABLE ADULT PROTECTION POLICY
Above: Attendees of the Child and Vulnerable Adult protection policy training.
As an organization St John of God the protection of children and vulnerable adult is one of the things we value as we deliver our services. On March 31st, 2023, the department provided comprehensive training on child and vulnerable adult protection policy to 26 staff members (16 females and 9 males) from the Child Development Centre and Umoza Children’s Project. This training not only ensured compliance with the Child Protection Policy (CPP) but also assessed the staff’s knowledge levels. It was discovered that over 90% of the staff had a good general understanding of child protection, but needed further guidance on case management. As a result, focused training was provided to address this knowledge gap. Similarly, 14 child protection focal persons from Umoza, the Child Development Centre, and the Institute of Vocational Training also received the same training during this period.
Above: The team during the awareness meeting in Masasa
CAMPAIGN TO IMPROVE THE RIGHTS OF CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
In an effort to raise awareness and promote the rights and protection of children, particularly those with disabilities, the Social Work Department organized a community mobilization campaign. This campaign aimed to emphasize the early detection of disabilities and possible causes of disability in children within the project catchment area. From March 29th to 31st, the department utilized a mobile van to reach out to 10 communities, including Chiputula, Zolozolo, Masasa, Hilltop, Geisha, Mchengautuba, Sonda, Kavibale, Chibavi, and Chibanja.
THE DEPARTMENT IN COLLABORATION WITH MANEPO TRAINS FOR THE ELDERLY
Collaborating with MANEPO, the department facilitated a training session on the National Older Persons Policy for 10 members of the Older Persons Association on January 24th, 2023. This training focused on empowering older individuals and ensuring their rights are protected. The session included 6 male and 4 female participants, equipping them with valuable knowledge on the policy and its implications.
STRENGTHENING RELATIONSHIPS TO BRING ABOUT CHILD PROTECTION
As a way of strengthening collaborative efforts towards child protection both within the organisation and in the surrounding communities, the social work department facilitated a one-day orientation training on child protection and child abuse issues to 40 stakeholders which included community, civic, religious leaders, traditional healers, Victim Support Unit of the Malawi police, one stop center, health workers, teachers, ward councillors and District social welfare. Major issues were discussed which centered on the increased number of cases relating to child abuse, challenges in reporting cases of abuse and also the way forward on roles for each stakeholder to ensure the creation of a safe environment for children’s growth.
Above: Social Welfare representative sharing on the current policies and other key documents on child protection
On 12th May 2023, a heartwarming celebration unfolded as St John of God brothers for St Augustine, St Richard Pampuri, and the Western European Provinces joined forces with devoted co-workers. Together they gathered to listen, share and commemorate the remarkable 60 year anniversary of Brother Ronan and Brother Finnian.
The festivities commenced at 9:00 am, with a morning filled with soul-touching stories. The Brothers and some colleagues from St John of God had the privilege to listen and appreciate the profound personal life experiences which were shared by these inspiring figures.
Among the presentations, Dr Charles Masulani, the Chief Executive Officer of St John of God Services Malawi, eloquently delved into and shared the history of St John of God in Malawi. Mr Christopher Mhone the Programs Manager of St John of God Services in Mzuzu, shed light on the invaluable role played by the Brothers in the Hospitaller Services. Furthermore, Fr Austin Ndowera, the Director of Social Services for the Catholic Diocese of Mzuzu, shared a captivating presentation on the future of the Brothers within the local church.
The second part of the celebrations began with a beautiful moment of prayer, where the Brothers, staff from St John of God, and the invited dignitaries came together. Under the guidance of Fr. Robert Moore of the order of St John of God, the congregation immersed themselves in the joyous celebration of the Eucharist.
Following the uplifting Holy mass, the festivities continued with a shared meal at Katoto Community House. Bishop John Ryan of Mzuzu Diocese, along with everyone present sat together and cherished the bonds formed and the lasting impact of the legacy of Brother Ronan and Finnian. This momentous occasion served as a joyful testament to the profound impact that Brother Ronan and Brother Finnian have had on the lives of many. Their dedication, compassion, and unwavering commitment to the mission of St John of God continues to inspire and uplift all of us.
St John of God as an institution is dedicated to empowering youth with disabilities by providing them with relevant and comprehensive vocational skills training. In the current quarter, we have actively engaged the youth by enhancing the vocational knowledge and capabilities of 155 (123 males and 32 females) youth across three districts. These trainings were done through informal vocational training programs.
Picture above: Showcasing some of the youth receiving training in Bricklaying
Specifically, as an institution we focusing on the provision of vocational training in the following three trades: Bricklaying, Carpentry and Tailoring. The current program has 24 trainees in Bricklaying, 91 in Carpentry and 40 in Tailoring. The participants have already acquired basic and advanced skills in their trades and are set to graduate in June 2023.
Through the provision of these trainings, we aim to uplift the socioeconomic status and well-being of the trainees. Our strategy involves continuous monitoring and support, ensuring that the trainees receive the necessary tools and resources to enable them to kick-start their careers immediately after graduation. Moreover, as St John of God Malawi, we are actively reaching out to more vulnerable youth to ensure they can participate in our vocational training programs.
These programs foster independence by creating sustainable livelihoods for vulnerable youth as well as those with disabilities thus bringing about lasting transformations in their lives.
Graduation and Handover of startup tools to youths with disabilities and vulnerable others in TA Chitukula
The project implemented a tailoring community-based training to the youth with disabilities vulnerable others in TA Chitukula to empower them with skills to promote their livelihood through self-employment and entrepreneurship. A total of thirty-nine youths with disabilities and vulnerable others completed a three months training in Tailoring and designing. Six self-help and entrepreneurship groups have been created among the graduated youths where start up tools were also handed over to initiate their tailoring business in groups. Six sewing machine and fabrics have been handed over and each has received one sewing machine and fabrics to help them initiate their businesses.
Here is the link to the audited 2022 consolidated statements for St John of God Hospitaller Services:
The 2018 Annual Report is now available for download on the link below:
By Vitumbiko Andrew Ngwira – Institute of Vocational Training and Child Development Centre social worker.
The Institute of Vocational Training Centre is a place where transformation is created and advanced. When I say transformation I refer to the total development on the human person. Apart from training learners in home management, tailoring, bricklaying, carpentry and horticulture, the institute offers a very conducive environment for learning. Students have counselling services, pastoral care, and access to the Saint John of God clinic. Since its establishment the institute has trained hundreds of poor women and men who are now living independent lives.
22 years old Cynthia Chirwa has a story to tell about the Institute of vocational Training. I followed Cynthia at her working place in NKhatabay, which is about 47 kilometres from Mzuzu. Coming from a very deprived family, Cynthia could not complete her secondary school education. Like many other poor girls and boys in Malawi, this meant that her future was blurred and promised very little. Cynthia never saw her dad; he died while she was a baby. Her mum has struggled to raise Cynthia and her elder sisters and brothers, without any job or stable business. Even a millionaire would find raising 7 children not an easy task. What about a jobless and poor woman?
Having tried many options in life, Cynthia decided to pursue a course in home management and catering at Saint John of God Institute of Vocational Training. This decision would be the beginning of her better days. The decision was taken because she could not afford to go to any college in Malawi due to lack of school fees. Saint John of God provided, the only option. For her this was an opportunity to utilize with total dedication.
Cynthia began her training in 2012, which lasted to 2014. The two years of her training went very fast and Cynthia recalls the day of graduation as the most significant day in her life. She not only achieved a certificate in Home management but also acquired values of hospitality, dignity, respect, compassion and excellence. Her life would be based on these values from then onwards.
Well, one might ask, ‘what you do with a certificate of Home management while others have degrees and diplomas in the same field?’ It doesn’t matter which college you went to or what type of degree you have. How you manage your life is the most important thing in life. After the completion of her studies, Cynthia got a job with the Mzuzu diocesan pastoral centre as a chef. Her hard work and commitment to work is a huge motivation to her work mates. A chat with the centre’s Director revealed that Cynthia is an important asset to their work force. She is reliable and works with great passion. The director also said that Cynthia has made a good name for the Institute of Vocational Training.
Cynthia is a happy woman. She cannot live a day without praying for girls and boys who are facing many challenges in their lives just like she did. She wishes for more institutions like Saint John of God that would bring hope to many poor people. She says that her life wouldn’t be the same without Saint John of God Institute of Vocational Training. Because of her current job, she is able to support her mum.
Her certificate in Home management is not the end of her dreams. She plans to make some savings and advance her education. She believes that one can only achieve his or her dream by showing great commitment in their present task and having realistic goals. I have no doubt that Cynthia will reach her goals. She is not only an encouragement for poor young people, but also she is also a source of hope and pride to the Saint John of God, especially, the Institute of Vocational Training.
Saint John of God Hospitaller Services announces the establishment of a Residential Addiction Recovery Centre in Mzuzu. This program, the first of its kind in Malawi runs for three weeks and involves a structured addiction rehabilitation program, clinical and nursing care, individual and family counselling, pastoral care, art and therapy. The Centre has recreation facilities such as a fully equipped Gymnasium, Television, games and reading materials.
The program exist to help clients and their families address drug and substance abuse problems, identify associated problems, change behaviours, set goals, prevent relapses and build resilience in the face of stressors in life.
The facility is open to all interested male and female, young and old who are grappling with addiction problems and have reached informed decision to change their lives.
For further information about the program, fees and mode of booking to enrol into the program please contact:
The Programme Manager
Saint John of God Hospitaller Services
PO Box 744
Physical Address: Katoto, off M1 Road to Karonga.
Telephone: 01 311 495/690/074
Fax: 01 311 213