Karrikins supports women like Mary in Malawi

If you've read the "About Us" page, you'll know that profits from Karrikins will support the work of The Hunger Project Australia. I've been an advocate and investor in the programs of The Hunger Project Australia since 2008. The wholistic community-led development approach starts with a shifting of an individual's mindset, changing their behaviour and empowering them to take action on their needs. It's difficult to explain, but when you witness it first hand (as I have on many occasions), the transformation is undeniable.

Here is a story about a woman I met in 2016 during an investor trip with The Hunger Project to Malawi. The purpose of the trip was to celebrate with several thousand people their achievement of 56 indicators, linked to the Global Sustainable Development Goals, demonstrating self-reliance (the end of extreme poverty and hunger). 

In 2018, Malawi is ranked by the International Monetary Fund as the third poorest country in the world, where GDP per capita per year is $342. This means a majority of the population is living in chronic persistent hunger. And, although I saw evidence of this extreme poverty, the communities that I visited with The Hunger Project were so very different. The people and children living in these communities were fit, strong, healthy, motivated and engaged in small business.

I met a woman named Mary at one of the villages near Ligowe (you can see it on Google Maps). Through a translator, Mary told me about her amazing transformation. Mary was born in 1957 and has 5 children. Before The Hunger Project, she lived an uncertain life and could not support her children's education. Mary was forced to take out loans at 100% interest to address her family's basic needs. Her old house was made of simple mud and thatch, which would fall apart during heavy rain. It also had no water or lighting.

The Hunger Project commenced in her community in 2004. Mary heard that they were offering loans to women at 15%. She was skeptical and cautious and took out a small loan of 5,000 Kwacha (725 Kwacha is $1 USD) from the community bank. It had a term of 6 months and Mary found that she could repay it easily.

Over time she built up her credit rating to take out a 35,000 Kwacha loan. With this she bought goats and pigs. Her business includes buying and selling fish; selling fried fish and selling maize fritters. Mary also built a solar powered charging station to charge car batteries that are used to power lights and small appliances at night. Her neighbours pay her for this service. The thriving business means she has sent all of her children to school, she can feed them and provide them with books, clothing, shoes etc.

Mary has also built a new robust house. The bricks are made from fired clay and it has a tin roof (so she stays dry and mud free during the rainy season). The foundation of the house is made of concrete. She has an internal bathroom with a concrete floor; a food storage room and a solar panel that is used to charge a bulb that provides lighting during the evening.

Mary's life has improved with The Hunger Project's programs (women's empowerment, adult literacy, HIV aids and gender inequality, microfinance; etc); she has livestock and she is confidently pursuing her dreams for even better facilities in her home.

I asked Mary if she had any messages for the investors who had not been able to make the trip to Malawi. She thanked The Hunger Project investors for making this version of her future possible. She could not have achieved a life free from hunger and poverty without their support.

Mary's story is not an isolated example. Throughout the world, The Hunger Project supports 16 million people to become self-reliant. These villagers demonstrate that it is possible to end poverty and hunger, through programs that enable the locals to solve problems for themselves, in partnership with their local governments.

I believe in a world free from extreme poverty and hunger, where everyone lives a free, dignified, healthy, educated, prosperous and sustainable life. Everytime you make a purchase from Karrikins, you are helping me to build a better world. Thank you!

Me and Mary 

Mary is not happy showing me inside her old mud house that was prone to collapsing during heavy rains.

Mary's new house, built with a concrete foundation, kiln fired bricks and a tin roof. This house also has an internal bathroom, a food storage room, and solar power for lighting.

Inside Mary's new home. It was very cool, and felt very solid compared to her old house.

Mary showing the solar powered light that she uses at night (rather than fire, which causes smoke and soot, and requires endless hours of collecting firewood).

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