This project aims to reduce poverty in Malawi by empowering people with disabilities, equipping them with the skills and tools needed to start their own businesses, be self-sufficient and earn a living.
Tools and sewing machines are donated in Scotland and Northern Ireland and are refurbished by volunteers at the Scottish Tools for Self Reliance workshops in Edinburgh, Milltown and Aberdeen, The Ecology Centre and the Tools for Solidarity workshops in Northern Ireland.
They are then shipped to Malawi and are used by our partners MACOHA and KODO, to provide vocational training in carpentry, tailoring and cane furniture making in Nkhotakota, Salima and Ntcheu districts.
Our trainees receive 6 – 12 months training in carpentry, tailoring or cane furniture making, business training, HIV and AIDS prevention, reproductive health and gender awareness training. When trainees graduate they receive the tools and sewing machines they need to start their businesses. Trainees receive on-going support and are visited by project workers at home to help them with the early stages of setting up businesses.
We offer training to people with all types of disabilities including epilepsy, sight and hearing impairments and learning disabilities and mental health conditions.
As well as the vocational training and tools, all graduates are also given solar powered home energy systems. Graduates will be able to use this technology to provide light for their families, increase their business output, and generate further income by providing mobile phone charging services.
The impact of the training and tools upon graduates’ lives has been transformative with graduates managing to increase their income on average by 350%. In real terms this translates to a substantial improvement of living standards for trainees and their families; being able to afford better food, basic household goods, livestock, medicine, labour, agricultural tools, seeds, land rental, labour and even better housing.
As significant as the increase of income to graduates, is the increase in their confidence, independence, and ability to plan for the future.