Religious leaders have been urged to advocate for orphans and vulnerable children in the country.
The call has been made after stakeholders noticed the increased number of orphans in Malawi which is now at over one million and the rise is believed to be due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
In his presentation during a 3 day Collaborate Plus Malawi conference organised by Everlasting Life Ministry in collaboration with a United States based Christian Alliance for Orphans in Zomba on Tuesday, founder for New Life Christian Centre Apostle Amon Zaliro Moyo emphasized the need to have a comprehensive programme aimed at caring for orphans in all churches.
“Activating local churches in orphan care and support will reduce population of Orphans and Vulnerable Children in Malawi,” said apostle Moyo.
He said the church has the capacity in reducing OVC as churches are close to vulnerable persons unlike other institutions.
Adding to this, he encouraged church leaders who participated in the conference to rise up and take rightful decision in addressing escalating orphans challenges.
“If the church were able to care of 1-10 orphans and Vulnerable Children, there would be no such increased number of OVC who need support in the country,” he added.
He noted that there are many orphans in churches but most of the times they are left out of the programmes, neglecting their challenges.
In his view, he is in support of a plan to have national Orphan Sunday to be taking place every second Sunday of the month of November to pull resources to help the orphans.
Pastor James Chikopa of Everlasting Life Ministry in Zomba concurred with Apostle Moyo saying the goal of the conference was that orphans and vulnerable children in the society are taken care of by churches.
Pastor Chikopa said he was happy that the conference was patronised by different church representatives from across the country.
Zomba District Council Social Welfare Assistant Lupakisho Nthakomwa said churches can play a big role in complementing government efforts in addressing challenges orphans and Vulnerable Children are facing in Malawi.
“There is a need to come together in contributing resources to reach out to OVC in terms of food, shelter and clothes,” said Nthakomwa.
He said increased number of orphans from 220, 000 in 2000 to over one million this year is an indication that government and churches have to do something.
Over 30 participants from different religions participated during the Collaborate Plus Malawi conference aimed at learning best practices in orphan care.