The Global Concerns Trust have been working in Malawi since 2007. Our projects aim to contribute to the reduction of poverty, the enhancement of economic sustainability, and improvement in community integration of physically disabled men and women in rural Malawi.
We work in collaboration with :
- Malawi Council for the Handicapped (MACOHA)
- Kuthandiza Osayenda Disability Outreach (KODO)
- Tools for Self Reliance workshops in Scotland
People with disabilities living in rural areas of Malawi, are amongst the poorest and most vulnerable people within society. With little access to disability aids, education or employment, many are forced to beg to survive, or are completely dependent upon their extended families for support. Our project aims to reduce poverty in Malawi by empowering some of these most vulnerable people, and equipping them with the skills and tools needed to be self sufficient and earn a living.
Between 2007 and 2011 we were funded by The Scottish Government to work with our partners MACOHA and KODO in Malawi, to provide vocational training and tools for adults with disabilities, as well as starting carpentry and tailoring clubs in schools. In 2013 we secured further funding from the Scottish Government to continue the Tools and Training for Education and Livelihood Project, for a further 3 years.
Tools and sewing machines are donated in Scotland, and are refurbished by volunteers, many of whom have learning difficulties, at the Ecology Centre, Fife, and the Scottish Tools for Self Reliance workshops in Edinburgh, Milltown and Aberdeen.
- Ecology Centre in Fife
- Garvald Centre in Edinburgh
- Milltown Communitynear Arbuthnott in Aberdeenshire
- Camphill Schoolin in Aberdeen
They are then shipped to Malawi and are used by our partners MACOHA and KODO, to provide vocational training in carpentry, tailoring, basket chair making and curios carving.
Between 2013 and 2016, 129 adults with disabilities living in rural areas will receive 6 – 12 months vocational training within their district, business training, AIDS, reproductive health and gender awareness training, and the tools and machines they need to start a business.
The majority of graduate trainees have been successful starting businesses. On average the graduated trainees have an increased income of 543% since before training, and the trainees’ families have an increased income of 437%. Some graduate trainees have been able to buy metal sheeting to build better roofs, and even buy enough bricks to build new houses. Others have been able to purchase livestock, buy medicine, furniture and new clothes for their families.
The impact of this project upon the graduate trainees and their families’ lives has obviously been life changing. The wider impact is that whole communities in Malawi are changing their attitude towards people with disabilities, seeing them to be skilled and valuable people within their societies.
We are delighted to have been awarded further funding from The Scottish Government (2015-2018) to continue our work with MACOHA and KODO in Nkhotakota and Salima, and expanding the programme to Ntcheu District, so that a further 157 people with disabilities living in rural areas of Malawi will receive the tools and training needed to start businesses, to support themselves and their families.