Annie and her seven children were homeless, although they did have a roof over their heads. “I can’t say I was living in a house; it was rather like a birds nest”. They were living in a hut and were extremely vulnerable to the weather. Annie’s story is one of many in Malawi, an African country where 65% of the population live in slums, according to data from UN-Habitat. 

Countries all over the world present distinct realities when it comes to homelessness, which is why the “13 Houses” Campaign adapts and tackles homelessness differently in different contexts.

In Malawi, the SSVP got down to work to provide Annie, and other families like hers, with better homes. They have now provided the first four houses and Annie’s children finally have a proper home to grow up in. 

Elias Bengo, one member of another beneficiary family, said “I am happy because I have a better house now that will protect me from all kinds of weather. I am pleading to the SSVP to continue reaching to the needy in our country”.

Charles Kimu, national president of the SSVP in Malawi said: “Our dream has come true: people receiving their houses. They had no shelter and bad weather was affecting them”. The Covid-19 pandemic delayed the works but they remain confident they will be able to deliver up to fifteen houses in five years in all the Catholic dioceses of Malawi.

If you want to know more about our work with slum dwellers, you can check out the 2020 Annual theme for reflection and our briefing paper on this issue.