Name: Theresa Caroline Malila
Where: South Africa and Malawi
What she does: Founder and Executive Director of Somebody Cares Ministries
Impact: Helping widows and orphans affected by HIV/ AIDS through outreach work
Nominated by: Gary Swart, TEARFUND
Theresa Caroline Malila was born 16th December 1952 in Cape Town, South Africa, but comes from Malawian parents. Theresa is a traditional chief inMalawi, a mother of five children, a local pastor, and Founder and Executive Director of Somebody Cares Ministries. Theresa was brought face to face with HIV/AIDS and the failure of the church, when her brother died of HIV. Somebody Cares is a faith-based ministry inLilongwe whose response to the HIV /AIDS pandemic was motivated by bringing about social justice for the disenfranchised and marginalised, in particular widows and orphans.
Somebody Cares is a faith-based community outreach programme based inLilongwe whose response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic was motivated by a desire to address social injustice and uphold the dignity and rights of individuals.
The vision of Somebody cares comes out of personal experience of the AIDS pandemic and aims to challenge both traditional and faith-based leadership to address the impacts and causes of the AIDS pandemic, including endemic and structural poverty. The major thrusts to achieve this vision has been through an holistic approach in five (5) key areas found in the acronym CARES:
Local (community) champions work with churches and traditional leaders to implement a ‘bottom-up’, holistic and sustainable approach in addressing the causes and effects of the AIDS pandemic. Community Life Centers in each community function as places of healing and wholeness for the broken and abused. The traditional and pastoral leadership are trained and work together so that their communities become havens of peace and safety. The ultimate goal is for the community to be fully engaged in restoring family values and the dignity of the individuals, especially the most vulnerable.
Local community-led initiatives are focused around the Community Life Centers and Somebody Cares supports these initiatives which include; provision of home-based care, early childhood development programmes, community feeding programmes for the most vulnerable, youth empowerment programs, pastoral and leadership programs, HIV support groups, water and sanitation, food security, and women (widow) empowerment programs (including violence against women programmes).
Somebody Cares works through local traditional and faith-based leaders advocating on behalf of the most vulnerable and marginalised in some of the poorest communities in Africa. Local leadership training in advocacy and human rights equips local leadership to advocate on behalf of their own communities.