First time visiting Malawi

Our Trusts & Major Grants Officer, Alistair Chase is currently out in Malawi, here is a snap shot of his time there.

“On Thursday 23rd February I was driven to Nyanda Village, Kasungu District. Nyanda is a community about 40 minutes’ drive from Kasungu, but that doesn’t do justice to how remote it is.  Having left the main road just outside of Kasungu we followed a dirt track deep into the countryside.  Living and working in London, it is difficult to imagine what it means to live somewhere like this. There is no running water, electricity or transportation, and the nearest school or hospital is many hours walk away.

Finally we reached Nyanda. The clients and their children were waiting for us, and were singing and dancing for our arrival.  Despite the warmth of their welcome, the poverty they live in is intense. I had been struck by the poverty levels in Kasungu but in the villages it is far more acute. The children are mostly dressed in rags, and buildings are small and thatched, without windows or doors. The wealthier members of the community may have a thin sheet of iron for a roof, but they are a lucky minority.

The rainy season has been hard and the ground is still incredibly dry.  The crops are likely to be poor this year and for communities almost completely dependent on subsistence agriculture the future will be hard.  However, thanks to their entrepreneurial spirit and the support of MicroLoan, they have a chance to overcome the extraordinary challenges they face, and build a life for themselves and their families, free from absolute poverty.” – Alistair Chase

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The MicroLoan Foundation is a responsible and non-profit UK microfinance charity that provides microfinance (small loans of on average £70), business education and ongoing mentoring support to impoverished women in sub-Saharan Africa. This provides them with a “hand-up not a hand out” so they can develop self-sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their families, and work their own way out of poverty. 99% of the loans are repaid and then recycled in full to help more women year after year.