One Square at a Time: Malawi Impact Story
Children attending an early childhood development centre in Malawi are happy to have Wrap With Love wraps to keep them warm. “In the past, most kids skipped lessons in winter as it got very cold”, says Malita, a caregiver at the centre. “And for the very small ones who could fall asleep, we didn’t have the best care for them as we could not raise enough resources to buy blankets.”
Spreading warmth in the midst of crisis
When disaster strikes, having warmth and comfort can help give survivors the strength they need to keep going.
The road to recovery continues for those who lost homes and loved ones in a devastating cyclone that struck Southern Africa in March 2019. But survivors like Dorothy and her children in Malawi have been "Wrapped with Love" by caring Australian volunteers.
Now, we're inviting Spotlight customers to join us in providing such essential care and comfort for more families in crisis like Dorothy's. In this time of isolation, it's a meaningful way to join forces with others and provide practical support to those in need.
All you need to do is knit or crochet one or more squares and then drop them off at your local Spotlight store. Wrap with Love volunteers will then stitch the squares into wraps to be delivered to vulnerable children and families in Australia and around the world by partners including World Vision.
Cyclone Idai was one of the worst tropical storms on record to hit Southern Africa. It affected close to 2.2 million people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi and claimed more than 1,300 lives.
"I lost everything," Dorothy explained. Her house, clothes, blankets and food were all destroyed. But something far more precious was hanging in the balance the night the cyclone hit: Dorothy was almost nine months pregnant with her third child.
"When the rains started, I was inside the house with my two children, Martha and Lucia," she recalled. "As the rains coupled with heavy winds came, the house collapsed and fell on my head … This prompted my early labour."
Dorothy said when she started feeling labour pains, she summoned the courage to go to the nearest health centre, about 10 kilometres from her home. "I started off at night when the rains were still coming. I wanted doctors to assist me. When I reached the health centre, I gave birth to a baby boy. I named him Chifuniro."
"When the child was born, he was consistently suffering from pneumonia …," she said. After being referred to hospital for care, Chifuniro's condition improved enough for them to return home. They now live in a one-bedroom house given to Dorothy by her sister.
World Vision distributed 100 Wrap with Love wraps to families in Dorothy's village as part of its cyclone response. Each wrap has brought much-needed comfort and warmth to families trying to rebuild their lives.
While her possessions are gone, the Wrap with Love wraps mean Dorothy can keep her baby healthy and warm.
"I received two blankets from World Vision," she said. "This served as a relief to the family since the blankets support Chifuniro and his two other siblings. From the time we received the blankets up to now, I can admit that Chifuniro has never suffered from pneumonia or diseases related to coldness."
Edison, the chief in Dorothy's village, said the donation of Wrap with Love wraps has improved the wellbeing of many families in the village. "When we were affected by the floods, a lot of households lost everything. World Vision came in to support us with blankets which a lot of us were lacking. The gesture helped us a lot," says Edison.
Over 15 years, Wrap with Love volunteers from around Australia have provided around 150,000 wraps for children and families in communities that World Vision works with in Malawi and other countries including Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
Please join us in spreading the love even further, one square at a time.