The first text we got from James when we landed in Malawi said, “We’re excited to show you the warm heart of Africa.” I wrote the phrase down immediately—because what a picture, right?
According to my cursory Google search (very professional), Malawi is known as the “Warm Heart of Africa” because of the kindness of its people. In our team’s experience, the country lived up to the moniker.
Everywhere we went, we were enveloped in kindness. Our partners were thrilled to welcome us, to show us how their programs and projects had evolved over the past couple years. Their compassion—not just for us, but for their communities—was evident in everything they shared.
This trip was a gift for our team because we got to see two extremes: the well-established, thriving orphan home in Zomba and the in-process, up-and-coming orphan home in Thyolo. We saw the building blocks and the final product.
Thirty percent of the world’s orphan population lives in Africa. Few of these children have family members who can afford to support them, which leaves them on the streets or in overpopulated orphanages. Neither is conducive to the type of laughter and joy we got to share with the kids in Malawi.
The difference is this: Forgotten Children’s orphan homes are structured like self-contained families. A married couple serves as house parents for a group of eight to twelve children; they live in a home with running water, warm beds, and easy access to food. It is a model designed to make kids feel seen, known, and loved.
Zomba has two orphan homes—one for boys and one for girls—and part of James’s vision for the future includes building more. The homes are that critical for the kids’ development.
In the more rural community of Thyolo, we toured an orphan home in its final stages of construction. FCW’s partner there, Maxwell, shared how excited he was to see this home completed. Every element was carefully planned—from the borehole that provided running water to the fence that ensured total security for the future residents.
(Side note: Another very cool thing about FCW is that when they build these homes, they hire area workers to complete the job, rather than sending in U.S. construction teams—which supports the local economy. This is a huge deal.)
These orphan homes are foundational to FCW’s work. They create a safe space where kids don’t have to worry about where their next meal is coming from, where they’ll sleep at night, or how they’ll provide for themselves the next day.
Having a home means that the kids can focus on just being kids—playing games, doing homework, learning about Jesus, and even dealing with typical preteen drama. It’s all part of growing up to thrive.
The warm heart of Africa isn’t only for tourists. It matters for the orphans, too.
Developing a safe home for orphans in our partners’ communities involves more than just brick-and-mortar expenses. We implement security systems, create clean cooking and dining spaces, and fund ongoing repairs and improvements. When you sponsor an orphan home project, you’re impacting the rawest need a child has: to be safe and loved. Make a difference today.