Updated: Apr 24, 2020
Business is booming in Manyamula Village. This village was small and struggling when I first visited eight years ago and it’s growing into a thriving center with lots of services. The SIA Small Business Fund is helping new entrepreneurs grow their businesses and support their families. Here are some pictures and stories from my visit in June.
Fikani – Manyamula’s Uber
Stanley is the rural Malawian version of Uber! Send him a text and he’ll transport you and your goods around town. He earns $10-15/day biking allllll over the village roads, even going as far as Mzimba, the town 44km away! He received a SIA Small Business Fund grant in 2014.
“Last time I remember I said that next time you come I’ll have electricity,” Stanley reminded us during our visit in June. He made it! His business is doing so well that he was able to connect his house to the electrical grid and buy a TV and speakers. “It is an honor to have you inside my house,” Stanley told us.
Esther’s Tailoring Shop
Esther attended the local technical school for a sewing and tailoring program. When she graduated she didn’t have the start-up funds for her business. The SIA $150 grant helped her buy the sewing machine and cloth. She was recently able to buy a plot of land and is slowly saving to build her own home.
Esther measured me and Kathleen and made us dresses in just two days! A handmade dress costs about $5, including this beautiful fabric. Esther is Sharing the Gift by training a friend to help her with the sewing. (Photo from California, not Malawi!)
Redson received his SIA grant in early 2018. He attended a welding training program in the town of Mzimba and then opened his own business in Manyamula Village. He makes window frames and repairs bikes. He’s training a friend to help him with the growing business.
With his profit Redson bought a calf as an investment. He is also paying for his children to attend school. Redson also bought a solar panel to provide some light in his home. (Since Malawi is near-ish the equator the sun sets early evening all year round.)