In Malawi money is raised by selling Chanasa products in Malawi outlets and at school fairs; and through grants. In Malawi women earn money by making the products and also by using their skills to make other items sold locally such as school uniforms. Profits are used to educate women. Chanasa is supported by Chifundo UK who pay for a Development Manager and Promotions Officer who works for 30 hours a week. Chifundo also pay the fees for women to do tailoring courses at the Beehive Tailoring School in Chilomoni, Blantyre. It is planned that Chifundo will sponsor scholarships in tertiary education for girls and women. Chanasa became a registered association in Malawi in April 2014 and is registered with the NGO Board in Malawi.
The groups are open to any woman and groups are encouraged not to be one church based. The only criteria is that the women must be unemployed. The women make sustainable products, using recycled denim and cotton mixed with African fabrics and are paid a fair wage which is approximately twice that of the minimum wage, so it is a FairTrade organisation. The women share the money equally amongst them. Two of the groups meet in churches and the third in a Women’s Centre. There is an Annual General Meeting and a six monthly meeting of a more informal nature for all the women. Their transport costs are paid and refreshments provided by Chifundo.
The Ndirandi Women's Group has ten women who belong to it.
Here is Esnart from the Ndirandi group. She has a certificate from the Beehive Tailoring School. She is married to Wilford and has two daughters called Chikondi and Quaen. She managed to buy a sewing machine and is helping the other women in the Ndirandi Group to improve their sewing.
The Chilomoni Women's Group has 12 women members and three women who are qualified as tailors.
The Soche East Women's Group has eight women members.
Here is a photo of Ephnes who is a member of the Soche East Women's Group. She is married to Gift Kamdende. They have three children called Priscilla, Necia and Tiyamike. The Vinyos helped Ephnes by buying her a sewing machine. Her role is to help the other women to improve their sewing.
There is also a group of three tailors who work in the Cholomoni area. They make some of the more complicated products and design new products as well. The picture is of Constance and Annette. Unfortunately, the third tailor Susan was unwell at the time.
Naomi Manjolo is our newly appointed part time (18 hrs per week) Entrepreneur. She started 1st April 2018 and her role is to empower and enable the women, after training to become small business groups in their own right and to be able to find their own local orders as well as receiving larger ones. To help this happen, Chanasa proposes to set up a small loan scheme.
In the meantime she is arranging for products to be made for retail outlets and students at the College of Medicine and is seeking to obtain an order from a private school. It is hoped that the shop at the College of Medicine will mean that Chanasa products can be made and sold there.
Naomi also services the Trustees’ meeting. She has the freedom to develop her own ideas and to find new markets to assist the women’s groups and tailors.
Chanasa has received a grant from the Irish Embassy for the purpose of renting a room for an office in Soche East Women's Centre. This is set up and is a base for Naomi to work from.
Track Record of Orders
1. SOKO Fund work bags, which were used to launch their Graduate Association in Malawi in May 2017
2. A variety of products, bags, bow ties, ties, scarves, serviettes, table runners and 350 chair covers, for the College of Medicine 25th Anniversary September 2016
3. 50 Hustle Bags and samples of Chanasa Products for the Ministry of Gender in Malawi May 2017
4. 150 Safari Bags for a conference organized by the Ministry of Transport in Malawi October 2017
5. 100 Padded reversible messenger bags, 100 safari bags with zip pocket, 100 purses for the University of Glasgow - September 2017. The profits are to be used to fund female scholarships at the College of Medicine in Malawi
6. Products are sold in retail outlets in Malawi – Lilongwe – La Galleria, the Wildlife Sanctuary, Frissons and the Four Seasons – Blantyre African Habitat, La Caverna and the Mount Soche Hotel.