It was sunny, Wednesday in mid-February. I set off with my colleagues from CONGOMA, Lilongwe office to appreciate what impact NGOs are making in the communities. 10 kilometers from Mchinji District going north of the Boma, we were greeted to a sign Post, “Welcome to Home of Hope”. Not very sure if this was the place we were looking for, my colleagues decided to ask some young girls coming out of the gate. They acknowledged it was the place and we were eager to get in.
Entering through one of the gates which we thought was the main gate, we saw school blocks and pupils lingering about only to realize it was around 10:30 am in the morning and it was break time. The first observation I made was the presence of pupils and children of all ages which meant this place does not discriminate. They took in everyone regardless of where they are coming from and how they got there.
As we approached the classrooms to ask where we could meet the authorities at the place, a cheerful lady with albinism welcomed and directed us to the administration block. While Malawi as a country has been hit with cruelties against the disabled, people with albinism, orphans just to mention a few, it was amazing to note how all these people have been embraced and how free and happy they looked.Proceeding to the Administration block we passed through several buildings which include hostels, houses, a church, a hall, a maize mill but also a garden close by. As we approached the block we were welcomed by a slender, light in complexion lady who then ushered us into an office which belongs to the Executive Director. Introducing ourselves, the lady welcomed us. As we divulged the agenda of the visit the lady directed us to Rev. Dr. Chipeta who is the overseer of the place. We found Rev. Dr. Chipeta at the Guest House where he was waiting for other visitors from the Ministry of Education. He then took us to the office and told us the history of how HOME OF HOPE came into existence, and this is what he had to say.
“Born in 1929 in the northern part of Malawi, I lost my parents at the age of 15 only to be raised up by my sister. Growing up in a child sustained home was no mean duty as everything, from food to care was handled by my sister who was equally a child. Striving to survive as children, my sister had to get married. Traditionally a brother was not supposed to go with his sister to her marriage home which meant I had to be taken care of by an uncle”.
“While pursuing my studies, due to lack of school fees I was booted out of school in 1950. I could not continue as I had nowhere else to find the money. It broke my heart to drop out of school, however the circumstances were beyond everyone’s control such that the situation was accepted hopping for the best. In 1954, I moved to Mchinji, Fort Manning Missionary where I worked as a clerk. The Godly environment at the Missionary exposed me to several men of God who were an inspiration. In no time one Missionary led me to Christ and I became a fully-fledged Christian by 1956. It was from this instant that I felt God’s calling to serve in His House and in 1957 I went to Theological College to become a Pastor in the Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP), Nkhoma Synod”.
“No sooner had I finished my Theological College studies than I was ordained as a pastor to serve in Zimbabwe for 15 Years. When doors open, blessings start to overflow. The orphan was now a Pastor and in 1978 I was sent to University of Pietermaritzburg in South Africa where I was awarded a Diploma in Theology as a special Student.”
“Being an orphan myself I realized how many orphans are lacking the opportunities I found. Married in 1955, in 1991 and 1992 I lost two of my children respectively who left behind ten orphaned children. This was the starting point of my vision for Home of Hope. I decided to retire as a Reverend and came back to Malawi to take care of my orphaned grandchildren. I had no money and the situation was helpless but I still took on other 10 orphaned children, having a total of 20 orphans that I and my wife started taking care of.”
“Inspired by a strong vision that God was calling me to build an orphanage, I had no money but faith in God. Being knowledgeable of the Ministry of Gender and Social Welfare’s requirements for one to set up an orphanage, I courageously decided on meeting them to share my vision. Failure of my vision was not an option as I had all the confidence that children of God displays. I shared the vision with Reverend Dr. Hara and Reverend Chiyenda and from that we formed a board of trustees and applied for approval of an orphanage from the Ministry of Gender and Social Welfare.”
“Going by the motto ‘God is the Father of the Fatherless and he will sustain the orphanage’ I gave the Ministry who were disapproving my application a testimony of myself, and that being the reason I wanted to create an orphanage. By the grace of God, though I didn’t have money the project was approved. We had MK100 as Start-Up funding in 1996 and since then, God has provided and is still providing.”
“Children need a lot of care hence in the early stages of setting up, I had my children come to volunteer. I employed my first treasurer who used to be a Managing Partner at Graham Carr called Loudon who asked if I knew the story of Jesus when he said if a man wanted to build a tower he must sit down and estimate the cost and check if he has enough money to complete it (Luke 14:28). I said yes but continued to tell him God will provide. In no time one friend of ours deposited MK38, 000.00 in our account which became the first donation that we used to build the nursery for the orphans. Home of Hope now has many friends who have been very helpful. We have 700 children, a Nursery, Primary, secondary and now building Technical College. We have our own clinic which the Ministry of Health has also given us a Clinical officer and Nurse”.
“Home Of Hope has made many friends in Malawi and beyond. With our work we have supported many children who are now self-reliant. Some are Doctors, other work in the Banks and Airtel just to mention a few. Though we have done much, we are still in need of 8 stuff houses. I Reverand Chipeta, due to my commendable work I have been awarded 2000 Bob Pierce Award by the Founder of World Vision; Paul Hals fellowship; Our People Our Pride ; Rotary Club fellow; Barbados; Special Award of 50 years as a pastor of Church of Central African Presbyterian (CCAP)Nkhoma synod . Always help the needy as you never know where they will be tomorrow.”
After this powerful utterance, the Reverend took us around the area. We were shown a community of a perfect home every orphaned child would ask for, with a perfect view of the mountain, the houses, hostels, classrooms, a guest house, technical college, a library and a path to the Main gate we were supposed to enter from. We were first shown the nursery, which was the first building built and named after a donor that supported its construction. As we entered, we were shown happy children between the ages of 2 weeks to 3 years old cheering with some calling the Reverend ‘Agogo!! Agogo!!’ which means Grandfather. We found a 2 weeks old baby and a 3 months old baby who both came just a day after their births. As their nannies came to greet us, the Reverend introduced them to us while commending a tremendous work they are doing on the children. As we trekked on through the area we saw different buildings named after the sponsors. We got to the girls hostel before we went to the Technical College which is just being built. As we went through to the small gate facing the hill, there was the technical college and a garden where different crops were grown. As we continued to view the area, one gentle man came to the Reverend, told him about the arrival of the visitors he had been waiting for.
After the tour, he took us to the Guest House where we were offered refreshments. Immediately after the refreshments, the visitors from Ministry of Education who also had a tour while awaiting Rev. Chipeta, were directed to the Guest House. We exchanged greetings with the visitors. I looked at my watch, and realized I had been there for over 2 hours as it was already around 1:00pm. As we left the Rev. Dr. Chipeta who called himself a young boy of 88 years, we were all left inspired. If you are also inspired and would like to give support to Home of Hope, you may contact Rev. Chipeta via email on firstname.lastname@example.org also visit their website on www.homeofhopemalawi.org