Meet Felia, she is 14 and runs her own business. She does this to pay for her school fees. School is not free in Malawi and her parents cannot afford to pay. Felia became convinced of the importance of school after attending a conference hosted by Y-Malawi partners. This learning changed her life. Now she is determined that she can do more in life, she is proving it by earning the money she needs to stay in school.
This is Kingsley. He also attended the seminar that Felia attended. At the seminar he learned of two girls who had dropped out of school because they could not afford the fees. Kingsley rallied some others, and together they did fundraising. They earned $41, enough to get the girls back in school. Kingsley is one of many great examples of how Y-Malawi partners are encouraging the people of Malawi. It is the people of Malawi themselves who hold the key to a better future, and they are leading the change!
Firewood is a precious commodity in Malawi. If you think about it just a minute, that makes sense. In the village, and even many places in the city, fires are the main source of cooking, light and heat. No matter where you travel, small fires are everywhere as people use them for these purposes.
All these fires demand fuel, and most of the fuel comes from trees. Villagers cut down the trees for wood. Others harvest wood to sell at roadside stands as a source of income. Over the years this has become a real problem. Deforestation has taken a toll. Fewer trees changes the environment. The ecosystem is impacted, and both man and animals suffer. There is more run off, less ground water, more heat, and the food supply is reduced.
Deforestation does not have an easy fix, but strides are being made. New methods of cooking have been introduced, new fuels, and people are beginning to realize the importance of saving trees. Y-Malawi Partner, The Nkhoma Youth Department is engaging by having Youth Clubs work together to plant new trees. These young people are making an impact. They are learning about the importance of protecting environmental resources and investing their lives in changing the future.
The pay off will take time, but changing a culture always does. The best part is that this generation is making a lasting difference!
For more than one and a half decades Y-Malawi and our partners in Malawi have linked arms together. Much has been accomplished. Strong relationships have been forged as we have shared, encouraged, and prayed for each other. We know our brothers and sisters in Africa as some of the most genuine, intelligent, loving, and joy filled people on earth. God has blessed our work together as literally hundreds of thousands of lives have been changed for the good.
In the United States this week, we are celebrating the birth and life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. One of his most famous speeches is his “I have a dream speech.” In the speech he talks about his dream that one day all men and women will share equality and respect. The dream is that this will happen no matter where a person is born, their race, their religion, their status.
Y-Malawi has a dream too. That dream is expressed in our vision statement, “We believe in a vibrant and thriving Christian community that knows what’s most important in life.” We have seen this vision become reality through a community of relationships formed between people in Malawi and the United States.
Achievement of our vision is dependent upon how well we as individuals live out the words of Jesus. He challenges us that the most important things we can do are to “To love God and love others” (Luke 10:27). Some have referred to this as “The Great Commandment.” History documents that no government, no movement, no power, nothing can stand against this kind of love.
It is often easy to get distracted in life by activities going on around us, but these things are seldom what is most important. The most important question is what are you doing to love God and love others? Leaders and governments will come and go as they always have, it is only the difference we have made in the lives of others that will truly last.
As for Y-Malawi, along with our partners we choose love. We love our brothers and sisters in Malawi. Together we will continue to pursue our purpose of “Opening People’s Hearts for Change.”
They may seem common place to the western world, but simple healthy living literally saves lives in parts of Africa. That’s why one of our core impact areas is health and wellness. Just look what happened in 2017 alone.
- 10,000 households sprayed for mosquitos
- Hundreds of people attended nutritional seminars
- 1,045 families received vitamins and medicine for their children
- 540 households now have proper toilets and clean water
- 2,000 received mosquito nets for sleeping
- 3,000 were trained in proper handwashing
- 3 local doctors are receiving medical training
Is it working?
- Hospital admissions are at record lows
- Deaths during maternity are at record lows too
- Cases of HIV/Aids are much lower than previous years
Common place? Perhaps, but teaching healthy living is making a huge impact on thousands of lives. The best part is that it is sustainable! It does not only impact this generation, but generations to come.
Meet Fwasani, she is 27 years old and married. She and her husband live with her Aunt, and a small child. They make a living by growing vegetables and selling them at a local market. Neither she or her husband had the money to finish school, they very work hard. Yet, Fwasani still finds time to volunteer at a local nursery school.
Not long ago Fwasani and 9 other women began a Bible Study and Savings and Loan Club. They call the club Kanthunkhama. Translated the word means, “If you don’t success, try again.” Each week the women come together to study the Bible. They also contribute to the Saving and Loan Club, most weeks less than $1 each. Fwasani serves as Treasurer. The club then approves, and manages loans to members and others.
Fwasani received a loan and bought fertilizer for her crops. After doing so the harvest was twice the harvest of prior years! With the earnings from her bumper crop, Fwasani has been able to save some money. She plans to buy some land and expand the farm to sell even more crops.
Now an empowered woman, Fwasani and her family have a brighter future. More importantly, as a part of the Bible Study Savings and Loan Club, she is making a difference in the lives of other women and families too!