It is impossible to speak of Malayaka House without speaking about the Aunties’ contribution and sacrifice to our cause. Their love and care brought our babies back from death’s door to complete recovery, and we owe them everything. Our Aunties are seven very special women who are the nurses, teachers, chefs, housekeepers, guardians, friends, role models and mothers to our children. They adore each and every child as if they were their own, something priceless to a child who has no other family to speak of.
As every mother knows, raising children is a tiresome and often selfless act, let alone in an environment established for recovering and rehabilitating sick and broken kids. The Aunties have the responsibility of bringing the kids back, both physically and mentally, and there is only one way of doing this, which is through love and compassion. Our team of “All-Star Aunties” has perfected the art. They have crafted a family that revolves around equality, friendship, and respect.
It is hard to imagine that one Auntie can put 20 children to sleep, in the same room, and succeed. The Aunties do this every day with a skill and expertise that has become renowned. When the Aunties go about their work they do not struggle or stress, even if a kid is flipping out and chaos is everywhere. The Aunties are calm, collected, and in full control. This makes it comfortable and less intimidating for our many wonderful volunteers to get
involved because not only are they caring for the children, young and old, they are also meeting the needs of our steady flow of guests and visitors.
Caring for the little ones is easy compared to managing our 15 teenage girls, but the Aunties have found their way with them as well, and they have done so by building strong relationships. Every child in the house depends on the Aunties to guide and counsel them through their problems. They are consistent, light-hearted, and peaceful, the ingredients that allow everyone to participate on their own accord. If an Auntie asks someone to do something, the task is accomplished whole heartedly and immediately. The kids work alongside the Aunties every chance they get, and because they are appreciated for their contributions, and efforts they always come back to help out the next time around.
Each of our Aunties was found in our local village of Lunyo, within walking distance of our home. Like many Ugandan women, they were all in desperate states, most with children of their own but unable to find work to support their family. They tried to depend on men to support them, but often that situation was not in their best interest, to say the least.
The Aunties create their own rotating schedule, with two staying with the children at night. They manage this among themselves and work together to adjust it as needed. Their independence extends to their lives outside of Malayaka House, to include bank accounts, identification, and healthcare… benefits the majority of Ugandan women do not have access to. We pay them a competitive wage because they earn it, and then some. We wish we could pay them more. They are each the highest wage-earners of their households and are now able to support themselves, their children, and their extended families.
We hold our Aunties in the absolute highest regard. It is because of them that our children are thriving.