The Mzuzu HIV/AIDS Orphan Care Program is a community based NGO based at St Peter's Anglican Church in Cobourg, Ontario. It raises funds for improving the nutrition of 250 AIDS/HIV orphans in Mzuzu, Northern Malawi, and provides them with health and educational support through an agreement with St Mark's Anglican Parish Church in Mzuzu. Such assistance is needed as currently the growth of 47% of the children in Malawi has been stunted due to poor nutrition. Orphans are particularly malnourished and are threatened with starvation due to lack of community support services.
The community of Mzuzu is isolated, very poor and has been very badly affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As a consequence large numbers of absolutely destitute orphan children were begging for food at the church. In response the Bishop of Northern Malawi, Bishop Boyle, and the Mother's Union of St Mark's Parish under Fr. Chifisi initiated a program to provide food once a month to some of these orphans using the few pennies that could be collected after church services.
The Mayor of Cobourg, Angus Read, learned of this project during a visit to Malawi and was deeply touched by the suffering of these children. Through the Minister of St Peter's Church in Cobourg, Canon Peter Walker, a connection was made between the two parishes in 2005 and our desire to help was expressed and accepted with gratitude by St. Mark's.
Three women who shared the same compassion for these orphans volunteered to create a committee, MAOCP, and raise funds to support the feeding program. An agreement was signed with St Marks the to establish a weekly feeding program for 250 HIV/AIDS orphans.
The Mothers Union committee of that Parish undertakes the management of the MAOCP program in Mzuzu.
Our committee has now grown and is comprised of volunteers from St Peter's Church, from other community churches, and individuals from within and beyond our community. We continue to be a non-profit community-based organization.