photo: Clive Hughes with the Tinyade credit group from the Mulanje branch
Mulanje, Malawi – home to tea and the “Island in the Sky”
We are absolutely delighted to announce that MLF Australia has opened its first lending branch in Malawi.
Our first branch is Mulanje, a town located in the southern part of the country, between the commercial centre of Blantyre and the Mozambique border. The area is known for its tea plantations, and the magnificent Mulanje Massif. The Massif is a spectacular granite rock plateau that reaches more than 2 kilometres into the sky and looks like Uluru with a serious extension.
In early May, Mr Joseph Kaipa (formerly of MLF’s Rumphi office in the north) opened Mulanje with little more than his Yamaha 125 motorbike. Since then, he has established six lending groups and with our help he hopes to increase this to more than twenty groups over the coming year.
photo: Joseph Kaipa – Branch Manager Mulanje
In mid June, our Development Director, Clive Hughes, travelled to Malawi (at his own expense) to carry out a review of the operation on the ground, and meet some of our new clients.
“I have to say I was incredibly impressed by what I saw. The micro lending activity is making a greater difference than I had ever imagined, whilst the actual operation itself is being run extremely efficiently. (This is no NGO gravy train!)”
“It was great to meet some of the women our branch has already lent to, and see some of their businesses in action. One of our borrowers, Lizneti Ndelewa was borrowing money to fund selling second hand clothes. She was using the money to support herself and her 17 dependents, 8 of which were orphans! She deserved a medal, but her story is not unique.”
“There were lots of great memories from my trip, but one that sticks out, was a short speech by the village elder at the conclusion of one of the lending group’s regular meetings. Every two weeks a repayment meeting is held, where all the women of a particular lending group come together to give their loan repayments to their group treasurer to pay into the bank. (NB no money is ever handled by MLF staff). Anyway, at the end of this meeting the head of the village stood up and thanked us all, not just for giving our clients the means to make money, but for helping to train these young women of his village in new skills they had never been exposed to before. I think he could see the beginnings of a quiet revolution where the women of his country could start to do more than simply bear children and keep a clean home.”
“Our challenge now, in Australia, is to help Joseph Kaipa get this branch fully established. To this end, we will need to raise some considerable funds (in excess of $90,000) over the coming years to help provide the initial loan funding for many more groups of women. It is reassuring to know that he had a 100% recovery rate in his old branch and I am sure he will keep this record going.”
Please help us establish our first lending office in Malawi and become a Friend of MicroLoan Foundation Australia today.