We hope that one day our community of Mayamikans will span the globe, providing training and education to developing communities in every continent. With your help, we know this is possible.
From the generous support we have already received, we have established a number of projects in Malawi (southeast Africa). As one of the poorest countries in the world, the life expectancy at birth in Malawi is 41 years. Well over half of the population lives in extreme poverty. Of every 1,000 Malawian children, 175 will die before the age of five.
We believe that the opportunity for education is fundamental to changing this. When women in particular are provided with education and the prospects for a sustainable job with a reliable income, this contributes directly to lower child mortality rates and increases the chances of children being healthier and being sent to school to receive a proper education. And so begins the ‘virtuous circle’, which we hope to establish with the following projects:
THE FASHION LAB
We have established a fashion workshop in Lilongwe, Malawi, which provides training in sewing and tailoring to local women who are affected by the HIV pandemic or are carers of HIV orphans. The women are trained in a variety of different textile processes: pattern reading, cutting, sewing, tailoring, all the way through to finished garments.
Our trainees learn to produce simple items of everyday necessity, like school uniforms, nurses’ and doctors’ uniforms, nappies, towels, to satisfy the huge demand on the internal market.
We have also established a workshop which teaches our trainees to manufacture a simple range of products for women, men and babies for export, using ethical trade practices. We are supported by designers and textile experts in the creation of these pieces. Our aim is to promote access to the ethical markets all around the world to make their work truly sustainable.
Some of the garments made by our graduates have been featured on Vogue, Grazia, Cosmopolitan and The Guardian.
The Fashion Lab offers our trainees comprehensive training and ensures that they are equipped with sustainable and transferrable skills in the process. Our trainees must also join a free educational program and attend classes in literacy, maths, life skills, social skills, economics, accounting and computer skills. In conjunction with a local vocational training institution, TEVETA, their training leads to recognized qualification which all of our trainees receive upon completing their training.
Whilst they are at The Fashion Lab, they also have the option to leave their babies and pre-school children in our nursery, where the children are looked after, engaged in education activities and fed healthy and nutritious food.
Microfinance Grant Schemes
Any of our trainees graduating at the Fashion Lab, has the opportunity to take out a grant to fund the purchase of a sewing machine and a starter kit to help them start their own business. Some graduates decide to start working independently, while others join forces to set up local cooperatives. Mayamiko asks that each applicant saves 50% of the required amount, and commits to funding the remaining 50%.
We also help our graduates with basic financial planning to achieve their saving objectives, as well as business planning to support their business objectives.
UP AND COMING PROJECTS:
The Cotton Project
Malawi grows cotton that is exported row for very low prices. Cotton is the fourth biggest export commodity but accounts only for 2% of the total export value (Malawi Trade Statistics, 2006). We aim to source some of the precious cotton grown in Malawi, and use it locally to manufacture products with added value for the internal market and for export.
The Mayamiko Cotton project aims at supporting groups of women and vulnerable individuals in Malawi, by giving them sustainable employment and by adding value to cotton, the third biggest crop in the country, which is currently exported on the world markets for extremely low prices – almost nothing trickles down to the growers, the pickers and the other rural workers, who are largely women. To add to this tragic situation, the large majority of cotton products found in Malawi are imported at prohibitive prices.
We are currently working to expand our services in Malawi to include:
To make these valuable additions to our services in Malawi, we rely on your generous support. If you would like to support us, please make a donation or check out the other ways you can help.