Mina and her family, from the Yao tribe in Malawi, have faced many hardships, but through the ministry of OM, they have received new hope.
About 85 percent of the rural population of Malawi lives in poverty. This is true of the Yao people of Malawi. The Yao are Muslim and typically uneducated, causing other local tribes to look down on them.
Based in Ntaja, OM Malawi envisions reaching the Yao people with the Gospel by improving their living conditions, assisting with community transformation and encouraging sustainable living.
Mina, who attends OM Malawi’s Chiyembekezo preschool, her mother Jessy, and her four siblings live in the rural village of Kamala, in the Ntaja area. When Jessy and her husband separated in 2010, he moved away from their family, leaving Jessy to provide for five children with a meager income from doing piecework.
At the end of December 2014 into January 2015, Mina’s village and their surrounding area experienced significant flooding, which destroyed many homes. Mina and her family were among those who lost their home.
In response to the flooding, OM Malawi organised and sponsored a disaster relief programme in Kamala. Jessy says that she “would like to thank God for remembering me when my house collapsed. With five children, we struggled to find a place to stay, but I saw God’s faithfulness when OM came to build me a house.”
OM Malawi’s disaster relief efforts consisted of a three-tiered approach: Firstly, the team distributed food and blankets; secondly, they restored partially damaged homes; thirdly, they rebuilt houses.
According to Augustine Park, an OM photographer who visited Kamala earlier this year, those receiving new homes are asked to provide builders and bricks and are given a free roof, cement plaster and window frames by OM Malawi.
Around 50 families have received new homes, including Mina and her family. Mina’s mother reflects, “I am a Muslim, and I had no hope that anyone will assist me. The love of God indeed is upon me.”
Not only did OM Malawi’s local disaster relief help Mina’s family, but Mina was also given a young, female goat as a part of OM Malawi’s Goat Project. The purpose of this initiative is to increase the sustainability of vulnerable Malawian children (usually those who have lost one or more parents) by giving them a female kid. After the baby goat grows up and has had its own kid, the firstborn kid is given back to OM and then to someone else in need, creating a continuous cycle of sustainability.
OM Malawi’s Goat Project gives children a sense of purpose and pride in raising a young goat, since most orphans, as well as those from single-parent families, are viewed as a burden by their caretakers or as social outcasts by their communities.
OM Malawi’s Chiyembekezo preschool has impacted Mina’s life by giving her an education—an opportunity she would not have received otherwise—and encouraged her to trust in God. Chiyembekezo preschool also has a feeding programme, which provides over 30 school children with both breakfast and lunch. Mina’s mother reports that her daughter “is doing very well with her studies.”
God is also change hearts through OM Malawi’s efforts to assist Mina’s family. Since Mina prays regularly at school, she has challenged her mother to pray before they eat and go to sleep at night. Coming from a Yao upbringing, Jessy isn’t used to talking directly to God. At the local mosque, the men tell the women what they are currently discussing because women are not allowed to directly participate. As a result, when Jessy joined Kamala’s ladies’ discipleship group, she wanted to learn how to pray.
Jessy also received an audio Bible from OM Malawi—a recording of the New Testament in her language—powered by a solar panel.
Jessy says, “I can see God’s hand through my daughter, as He is the one who allowed her to attend the school. Through Mina being there, our hope could be restored. Now we have a nice house. She also received a goat, which will help her to be self-sustained in the future.”
A photo story of Mina's life can be viewed at http://omafrica.org/malawi.