18 She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. 20 She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night. 22 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. — Proverbs 31:18, 20, 22
In the previous These Freedoms, a discourse started that advanced the view that the World Bank and IMF-engineered Malawi Privatization Program in 1994 whereby the Malawi Government was led, advised, caused to sell its shares in national commercial enterprises, with the stroke of a pen, created nationwide joblessness and widespread poverty in the country. The closing or downsizing of numerous companies like David Whitehead and Sons, Press Corporation companies (Press Farming), SUCOMA now Illovo Sugar (Malawi) (owned by Associated British Foods plc, which operates in 52 African countries), has caused a mad rush of large populations from rural Malawi into urban centers, and the rise of informal businesses in the form of either shantytown street outlets or roving vendors.
The discourse introduced five upwardly mobile youths that are harnessing the poverty storm in the same manner William Kamkwamba harnesses the wind with his windmills; these youths are looking poverty in the eye and introducing very enterprising and energetic businesses. The discourse encourages the Malawi Government, and indeed even established Malawian businesses to get involved by among others creating laws that will help these grow; they could also consider buying shares as an engine for their growth.
In a social media discussion on a diaspora forum, Malawi Counsul-General in the US, Jordan Price said that the Japan and China connection in Malawi was an interesting one. He informed the group (Malawi Diaspora Forum, that a Mr. Charles Nthenda was writing a history of JICA volunteers in Malawi from the program’s inception in 1971 to its Covid19 interruption 2021,” in what Price calls “ a neat 50 years” of cooperation. Price said that Nthenda’s undertaking is a joint study with a Japanese researcher at the University of Tokyo who was herself a JICA volunteer in Malawi.
Joining the discussion, many discussants agreed that JICA had done a lot for Malawi wherein in the 50 years of operation in Malawi the organization brought to the country volunteers in a variety of projects including in the health sector.
Steering the discussion to government enterprises, I expressed my deepest wishes of all time. This was I heartily desire for some researcher to conduct a study on the impact of the friendship between Tiny Rowland and former Malawi President Dr. H. Kamuzu Banda. When viewed with a wide lens view, it would reveal that Mr. Tiny Rowland(the name belies his physic – he was super tall giant of a man) through the projects he funded during Banda’s 31-year rule was one powerhouse study in job creation.
Out of Mzuzu, a Chocolate maker
Continuing with the youth entrepreneurs, young Wezi Mzumara’s Malawi Chocolate lady (Kwanza Cocoa) highlights that women too are in this trajectory of injecting energy in Malawi’s economic undertakings. On her website, Wezi states that she appreciates all the support she is getting from her local customers!
Wezi says she is currently focused on the local market, but she believes by next year she will be ready to enter the export market. Anyone interested can engage her as she plans out for this. The items she is selling and make orders for local delivery are Tamarind Dark Milk Chocolate (commonly known as bwemba), Mango Kambuzi & Sea Salt Dark Chocolate, Masala Dark Milk Chocolate, Espresso Dark Chocolate (uses a Nigerian coffee brand), and Cocoa Powder (for use to brew a hot drink.
Fashion designer hosting fashion shows to raise money for philanthropy
Jessie Kachule, one of many young women entrepreneurs in Malawi, is a cosmetologist by profession who studied at Pivot Point Kenya. She currently owns a salon Solange which she has operated since 2012, that offers both hair and beauty services. Gifted with a creative eye, Solange has seven employees.
On the clothing side where she produces fabric and leather products, Jessie has partnered with “an amazing tailor who has been making clothes for over thirty years, the celebrated Mr. Kellie Sapangwa,” Jessie told me in a telephone interview.
Through this partnership, I saw a great opportunity to learn and create with the best! We not only make clothes for the young and old but also bags, we also cater to a growing international clientele, mainly in the US. This section has three employees.
In 2016 Jessie registered a shoe company called Armasi Shoes. Which means diamond in the rough. It was that, yes we are a nation that people discard but beautiful things come out of there too. Armasi makes both fabric and leather shoes. This section of the enterprise has five employees. She told me that five percent of every products that the sector makes goes into philanthropy such as funding students and recently helping survivors of Cyclone Freddy.
She said that as all the businesses are in one place and makes her undertakings a “one stop shop for your beauty and family needs!”
This past week, Kachule visited “Malunda camp and you could see how downcast people were. We took them 60 blankets we were short as there were 79 people. We also bought 20 pieces of cloth, but these were not enough. This camp is in Mulanje/Phalombe districts. They call the place Kuseli, as in Kuseli kwa phili.
“There is no road access and helicopters are the ones bringing relief. Unfortunately it’s not enough. I took blankets because they ddnt have any at all. And as you know, Phalombe is very cold. The lucky ones who escaped with cloths were using those to cover themselves at night. But others were covering themselves with a mosquito net all night,” she told me.
The first time I worked with this energetic young Jessie Kachule, was in 2013 when she brought a trunk of clothes to a fashion show held in the Trump Towers, a stone-throw away from the United Nations.
Kachule was helping a US NGO (US Counsel for Women run by the late Mary Singletary) raise funds for fistula work in Malawi.
It would be a bone to Malawi’s work in poverty eradication to get involved with the youth that have been paraded in these two articles.
Up, Up, Upward with Malawi’s upwardly mobile youth!