Deborah mbale: founder of mai mbambande

 Deborah mbale: founder of mai mbambande

From Dzama Village, Traditional Chitukula—about 10 kilometres from Area 25 Nsungwi in Lilongwe lies an elderly home— a place which gives hope to the elderly accused of practising witchcraft and rejected by their relatives.

Helping others does not need one to be rich; a kind heart is enough.

Deborah Mbale, 24, is unemployed, but through her small businesses, she has taken charge of 85 elderly people in Lilongwe.

Through her Mai Mbambande Foundation, she constructed a safe haven for 35 men and 50 women under threat.

For now, 10 of the men are accommodated at the premises while the rest come for meals and different activities.

Deborah, who studied international travel and tourism, dreamt of becoming a journalist.

She started Mai Mbambande to give a platform to women for networking and sharing experiences.

“I was using a phone to record interviews and post them on Facebook to nurture my journalism passion,” she said.

This started in 2020 when she visited communities and rural areas to record human interest stories.

While doing that, she observed many challenges affecting girls, including lack of fees and access to medical care.

Deborah started a girls’ initiative to support them.

“Through this programme, I sourced some funds to pay fees for girls who could not afford. I send some to hospitals when in need of medical attention. I was also giving out sanitary pads. All these funded through my small fish,” she said.

In 2022, Deborah had a chance meeting with a family of two elderly people struggling to survive and abandoned by their children on grounds of practising witchcraft.

“They were in trouble, living in a dilapidated house and lacked food, yet they had children working in big companies. I was saddened and had mobilised food for them,” she said.

It was that moment that she realised there was a segment of people she had not helped and were in need of her hand.

“In October 2022, I approached friends for used clothes to donate to the elderly. My attention shifted from working with girls to them. When I started, I felt good working with condemned people over witchcraft accusations. I saw people who are forgotten and some beaten by their own children. It was too much, but in the end, I was satisfied to impact their lives,” she said.

Last year, the Good Samaritan rented a house where elderly people gather to get food and undergo different activities.

“We started getting huge demand as others had no place to sleep. We were forced to rent another house to accommodate those that had been chased from their homes,” she said.

Those without a home are accommodated at the second house and are given breakfast to dinner.

Others who are not accommodated here join the group in the morning for a joint breakfast.

Deborah said on a good day, they also serve them lunch.

Mai Mbambande has a small garden for vegetables and the men produce hoe handles for sell.

She has two caretakers who help with cooking for the elderly and three friends who work with her.

Deborah is focused on establishing an elderly home and she is building a big structure to accommodate a number of them.

When completed, the place will accommodate 200 elderly people.

For now, a hostel for men is almost complete and they are finalising a female  

 hostel and offices.

The place will also have a clinic to provide medical care as going to hospitals requires a lot of money, especially because of the long distance.

She has organised a fundraising dinner on May 31 this year to raise money for completing the project.

“We need K40 million to complete our elderly home. We are calling for well-wishers to help us achieve this dream,” she said.

Gogo Binwell Chabwera, 89, was six months ago rescued from his children and relatives who attacked him for allegedly having a hand in the death of his grandson.

He was in a police cell at Zalewa Police for two weeks not because he was answering any charge, but because there was nobody to give him a home.

Chabwera said he will never go back home and as he has found a new one.

“Mbale has given me a home; I could have been dead by now. Nobody was willing to give me space, but Mbambande has done that, God should bless her,” he said.

Nasitima Chikadwala, 81, said she was found by Deborah on the brink of starvation having stayed two days without food.

“She gave me food and said she will help me. Today, I am back to life and have seen God through her,” she said.

Deborah has no regrets, not even fearing she might be a victim of witchcraft one day.

“Many have said these elderly people will bewitch me. I don’t think so, they could have done that by now.

“In the beginning, both my parents failed to understand my decision to help elderly people, but today, they are part of the project. They support me, just like my two sisters,” she said

The post  Deborah mbale: founder of mai mbambande first appeared on The Nation Online.

The post  Deborah mbale: founder of mai mbambande appeared first on The Nation Online.