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In Malawi, Adoption is Not Enough
Date:4/1/2009

WASHINGTON, April 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When Madonna sets out to adopt a child, the world pays attention.

Thanks to Madonna, millions of people are being introduced to Malawi -- a small impoverished African nation.

In a country where reports of orphaned children range from 500,000 to over a million, help is needed in many forms. Villages where orphaned children are raised in nurturing homes, with a mother and siblings, and the essentials of childhood are ideal. SOS Children's Villages operates three villages in Malawi that provide these loving, permanent homes to hundreds of children.

Malawi, known as the Warm Heart of Africa, is a land of stunning beauty. With hundreds of miles of tropical golden sand beaches lining Africa's third largest lake, genuinely friendly people, and nine wildlife reserves, it might seem like an idyllic setting. It is not.

According to the United Nations, over half the population of Malawi lives below the poverty line of $1 per day. Of these, 22% are considered "ultra-poor" living on less than $0.20 per day. 44% of all children under five are chronically malnourished, and almost every family is affected by malaria, HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

After eight years of persistence, SOS Children's Villages established its first facility for orphaned children in Malawi in 1994. The SOS Children's Villages alternative to adoption and crowded orphanages is a model that has been refined over 60 years in 132 countries. Family is central to the SOS model. Children grow up in a "family home" with an SOS mother and with their biological siblings whenever possible. They receive a quality education, meals, clothing, medical care, and are prepared to live life as independent adults.

SOS currently has Children's Villages in three Malawian locations: Mzuzu, in the north; Lilongwe, in the central capital area; and Blantyre
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SOURCE SOS Children's Villages - USA
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