Last year a grouped of eighteen women from the UK trekked to the top of Mount Mulanje in Malawi to raise an incredible $43,000 for MicroLoan Foundation. Here are some of their thoughts and comments after the trek:
“Life in Malawi is a million miles from our comfortable lives in the UK: it is a landlocked country, bordered by Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique; its population is almost 14 million; it was colonised by the British in 1891 and gained independence in 1964. For 30 years after that it remained a single party state but now enjoys multiparty democracy of sorts and positive relations with most international organisations.”
“It is, however, one of the least developed countries in the world, where homosexuality is illegal, life expectancy is just 49, average income per annum is a little over £150 and 12% of the population are living with HIV/AIDS. Tens of thousands of Malawians die of AIDS every year.”
“I thought the day out with Microloan would be heartbreaking, but instead it was humbling, uplifting and inspiring. These women are now in control of their own destinies, making informed business decisions, opening bank accounts, entering the economy and saving money. Microloan offers a ‘hand up, not a hand out’ and our day with these groups showed me that this really works.”
“To most of the groups, the five of us were definitely a bit peculiar: over 30, no children, and not married! All the women we met had at least 3 children and many more had taken Aids orphans into their care. Some were widowed and caring for their families alone, but those with husbands told us how pleased and supportive they were of the loan process and some had been sent to join a group by their husbands who had heard about Microloan from their friends!”
“The money we raised climbing Mulanje now totals over £28,000 (or 7.5million Malawi Kwacha) and will change the lives of over 1,100 women in Malawi, and many more children, families and villages.”
PS the summit of Mount Mulanje is called “Sapitwe”, which literally means “don’t go there”!