For many women in Africa, each day is a struggle to survive. Beyond the challenges of poverty and disease faced by so many communities in the sub-Saharan region, women are particularly vulnerable. For over ten years, women have been a focus of the ministry of Visionledd and WOW. When we build a Life Center in a community such as Kawale, we introduce a catalyst for change. As a facility for orphan and widow care, income generating activities, educational programs, medical care and food distribution, the Life Center becomes exactly that – a source of life.
Today the Life Center in Kawale is nearing completion. The leaders in Kawale have chosen to use a portion of their quarterly funding to invest in this project, and have shown vision and determination over the last few years as it has been built. Only the offices and storage at the rear of the building are yet to be completed.
In every community, all of the leaders including chiefs, pastors, teachers and many others help to determine which projects or programs are in greatest need. The chiefs for the Kawale area have been instrumental in choosing the widows who will participate in a small business loan program offered through WOW. This works very well as the chiefs know their citizens the best and can hold the widows accountable when it’s time to repay their loans. Each woman is initially loaned 5000 MWK (approximately $35 CAD) for six months to help boost or begin a small business of their choice. Each month they are required to pay back a portion of that loan until all the funds have been returned. If they are successful they will then qualify to apply for a second, larger loan to help grow their business.
Linly Chimbalanga sells charcoal, thobwa (a poplar non-alcoholic drink made from corn) and popcorn on a stand at a road near her home, and Jennifer Saopa sells tomatoes and onions at a rented stall in the local market. Both women are doing well and feel very proud to be supporting their own families through profits they have earned.
Thank you for your continued support for the Kawale community. Because of you, children are being feed regularly and attending school, widow’s hearts are singing because they are being empowered by growing their own small business, and the sick are being comforted in their homes through our home based care program. Zikoma – Thank you.