MACOHA, a Malawian governmental agency, are at the forefront of work to help men and women with disabilities to be more independent, self-sufficient, and recognized as equals within Malawian society; receiving the same educational and other opportunities that exist for able-bodied people. As well as lobbying for these rights and helping families access disability and educational aids, they also have vocational training centres.
GCT worked with MACOHA from 2008-2011 to extend their vocational training programme to Dowa district, a rural governmental target area. Disabled men and women were selected for year-long training in carpentry and tailoring, based on an assessment of need and motivation. The training is of an extremely high standard, and is accredited by TEVETA. Trainees were also provided with business training, and support in starting up their own carpentry or tailoring businesses upon completion of training.
Toolkits and sewing-machines were provided to graduates to help start up their businesses; these comprised of tools re-furbished in Scotland by volunteers at Tools for Self-Reliance workshops, and shipped to Malawi. With GCT’s support and funding from the Scottish Government’s International Development Fund, between 2008 and 2011, 29 men and 20 women with disabilities were given vocational training and toolkits, and a further 57 of MACOHA’s previous graduates were issued with toolkits, enabling them to start up their own businesses
As a consequence of the success of our pilot project in Dowa district, GCT are hoping to support the introduction of the project into Nkhotakota district, another target rural district currently without vocational training opportunities for disabled people.