When we can, we’re always eager to help people up onto the bottom rung of the ladder, empowering them to help themselves, and funding small businesses is one
During our recent trip we were able to give small business grants to vulnerable ladies, either AIDS-affected or living with disabilities. Cakes, trading in rice, groundnuts, dried fish or veg are common, but we were particularly happy to meet Lucy, who needed tooling to make clay stoves.
The disastrous loss of hard-wood trees for charcoal and firewood is a major environmental challenge in this area, so promoting these clay stoves, which use only a third of the wood of open fires, makes good sense as well as a bright business opportunity. She’s been trained by another organisation, now defunct, so up to now has had to rent the simple tooling required on a shared scheme, limiting her ability to meet orders on time. As we spent time with her, we were impressed with her skills with clay, her plan, and her desire to train others, so were very happy to award her a business grant for equipment. We’ll keep an eye on her progress, helping where we can, and possibly involve some of our Yankho members on a training programme in the future.
Three friends, AIDS-affected, who approached us for funding for their proposed small businesses, trading in rice, groundnuts, and making small cakes. In addition, having enquired if they had suitable land, we also gave them cassava stems to cut up and plant to feed their families during the hunger period.
Lucy’s stoves -
saving wood and building a business to support her family
The exchange rate impacts directly on our income and thus our ability to help those at risk. The benefits we found earlier with the floated kwacha are being eroded now as prices rise.
Last year we paid K40/kg for the maize we stored for the Food Programme, this year we were charged K88/kg.This is challenging for us, but much more so for our neighbours. Maize, being the staple diet, forms the basis of the local economy so its high price means the situation is becoming increasingly difficult for local villagers with little income. Add to that the destruction of maize crops in some areas because of flooding, the reality is that many are already hungry so soon after
harvest, and things can only get worse
Following an appeal for glasses, about 150 pairs came in for us to take to Malawi. A life-changing experience for many as each pair was given away to a very grateful villager,delighted with fresh opportunities to read and improve their sight
We gave out blankets, kindly knitted in the UK, beautiful baby quilts donated by a Quilting Group, knitted jumpers and other clothing, gratefully received as the temperature dropped into winter.
Some of the grateful recipients of the reading specs
2 orphans, enjoying our goats milk and their new jumpers!
This is page 3 of summer update 2013