Climbing For Christ

Gary Fallesen


Population growth, increasing pressure on agricultural lands, corruption, and the spread of HIV/AIDS pose major problems for Malawi. This is an underdeveloped and impoverished country, one of the poorest in the world.

Malawi has the sixth-lowest gross domestic product per person on the planet — US$260. The UN Development Programme ranks Malawi as the 18th worst country in its “Human development index.” No country has fewer doctors per person; there is one doctor for every 50,752 people.

A lack of doctors is a major problem in a place where HIV/AIDS is prevalent among about 12 percent of the population aged 15-49. That ranks Malawi ninth in the world. An estimated 504 per 1,000 people died from AIDS-related illnesses in 2007 (sixth worst in the world). There are up to 400,000 AIDS orphans.

Malawi orphans being fed and clothed by Climbing For Christ.

As if all of these physical needs aren't bad enough: Islam is on the rise in a country where 4 out of 5 people profess to be Christian.

More than 90 percent of the Yao people in the southern part of Malawi are Muslim. The Qur'an has been translated into Chewa, the country's official language. And, although there is freedom of religion, Operation World suggests that “some suspect there is a favoring of the Muslim minority.”

There is an ongoing need for relationships to be developed between Christ followers and Muslims.

Fast facts

Location: Central Africa. Leader: Vice president Joyce Banda succeeded Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in office on April 5, 2012, as Malawi's president on April 7, 2012. The next election is scheduled for May 2014. Population: More than 16.7 million in a country slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. Primary Religion: Christian (about 82 percent). Nearly 13 percent of the population is Muslim.

Where in the world?

Malawi is located in south-central Africa, east of Zambia. It is also bordered by Mozambique and Tanzania. (The World Factbook)

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