These excerpts were taken from the monthly newsletter produced by Mac. As he does not have his own computer, he has to use an internet cafe. This would not make his work any easier.
To our monthly focus for the month of September. In it, we tell a story of a child who has grown to be independent through your support. None of the work outlined in this Focus could have taken place without your generous support. We hope you will enjoy reading stories about children lives.
Blantyre Shines Brighter
If you walk in the streets of Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial city, you are greeted by most people wearing beautifully polished shoes. This is because a 15 year old boy, Ganizani shines them.
Ganizani is earning money through his shoe shine business. He lost both parents between the years of 2002-2006. His parents were uneducated, poor but loving. After their death, Ganizani together with his older brother came to the streets of Blantyre with hope for “a better life”. “A better life” is not what they found. They found life on the streets abusive, hopeless, dangerous and painful. However, the boys had no choice but to persevere. Their miserable lives changed in 2009 when they met a worker from Chimwemwe. Together, through identifying problems and drawing up ideas for how to solve them, the boys at last brought up a wonderful idea. Ganizani and his brother asked if they could be helped to start a shoe-shine business in the streets. Chimwemwe, gave them k6000 (about 25 pounds) from the money donated by the Rotarians of The Howe of Fife club in Scotland. With the money, the boys bought materials which they used to make a shoe-shine stand and bought different kinds polish, brushes and cloths. The boys are now living gainful lives.
Ganizani: Busy at work as his customer is enjoying a copy of a newspaper
Ganizani and his brother are attending school in the morning and run the business in the afternoon. The boys know how to market their business as if they are graduates from university. To attract customers, they buy daily newspapers. Most people who don’t buy papers come to read from their stand while the boys shine their shoes. They are able to pay house rent, buy food and clothes. But they still think big!
Their dream is to employ someone who can run the business in the morning. They are also saving money to get another shoe-shine stand to that they can increase earnings.
“Our desire”, Ganizani says, “is to have the business spread all over Blantyre so that we earn a lot of money. It will be great for us to pay for our secondary and university education. Life of begging brings shame”.
One of the customers has this to say about the business.
“I prefer my shoes to be cleaned by Ganizani than my worker at home. This boy has gifted hands. I don’t mind paying more that he charges because his services are superb. Blantyre is now shining because of his hands!
Chimwmwe engages HIV/AIDS Expert
Chimwemwe is delighted to welcome Steven Chanunkha, a 52 year old man who is voluntarily helping the organisation. Stephen has a wide knowledge on HIV/AIDS issues, having worked in this field for over 10 years. His skills are already proving invaluable to us. Steven is the director of an HIV/AIDS organisation but is currently not working. On a weekly basis, we are engaging him to teach children different ways of preventing the spread of the pandemic. In our next issue of Focus, we will tell you more on how we are engaging him to help children learn how to be resourceful. Chimwemwe, through his skills, is opening new vegetable gardens where children are growing some nutritious plants to add to their diet.