Malawi’s HIV prevalence is one of the highest globally with 10.3% of the population living with HIV in 2014. This disease has had a devastating impact on children and families. There are an estimated 790,000 orphans due to AIDS and the prevalence of HIV among children (0-14 years) was 10%, with 170,000 living with HIV.
Supporting the needs of orphans and other children made vulnerable by AIDS is a focus of the national HIV/AIDS response. However, a lack of resources prevents the roll-out of adequate support and services for these children.
Poverty and limited educational attainment results in few opportunities for Malawians to improve their lives. Over 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. Only 26% of boys and 16% of girls complete primary school and 15% of boys and 7% of girls will complete all four years of secondary school.
The Jacaranda Foundation believes that every orphan, if given the right tools, can achieve his or her dreams.
The Jacaranda School for Orphans, located outside of Limbe, Malawi, was founded by Marie Da Silva. The school and its supporting foundation are named after the jacaranda tree, a tree that blossomed outside the hospital window of Marie’s father who died in 1997. To Marie, the jacaranda tree symbolizes life, growth and hope, important symbols for her students, orphans and underprivileged children, for whom she aims to provide a future.
In 2002, while working as a nanny in the U.S., Marie learned that the school in her hometown was going to close. Knowing firsthand the affects of HIV/AIDS on families and children, she urged her mother to let the students gather and learn in their family home using Marie’s financial support from abroad. She wanted to provide the most vulnerable children, children who have lost one or both parents to HIV/AIDS, with a quality education and supportive services.
Marie now lives in Malawi and runs the school with her husband and Executive Director Luc Deschamps.
The Jacaranda Foundation, a 501(c)3 registered charity, provides orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi comprehensive education and care to become self-reliant, productive and healthy members of their communities. The Jacaranda Foundation also serves communities and families to improve the lives of the children of Malawi.
What We Do
The Jacaranda Foundation aims to educate and care for the most vulnerable children in Malawi and support their families and the surrounding community.
In addition to free primary and secondary education, the Jacaranda Foundation, which runs the Jacaranda School, provides their students with: daily nutrition; AIDS awareness activities; medical care; music, arts and sports enrichment programs; and university scholarships to selected high school graduates. In 2017 they will complete the construction of a vocational school and a preschool.
In addition to school services, the Jacaranda Foundation supports the community, efforts include: Luc’s Libraries and literacy programs; home support, including construction of students' houses and monthly financial support to their most impoverished children; a small microfinance program; and physiotherapy support to severely handicapped children.