We have received the following news from Susan Flynn in Malawi. Please click on the title above to read the whole letter.
The main event to report is that yesterday, Sunday 22 March 2015, there was an informal Chanasa Women's meeting. I was the only trustee but Alice was there too. Three Blantyre Soroptimist ladies also came: Judith, Surrey and Harriet. We had a very delayed start because the Chilomoni and Soche East women were over an hour late. After a welcome and introductions, I told them my story and how my mother had not had the same educational opportunities as me. I also told them how empowering education is and how it opens doors.
We then split into three groups to discuss:
1) If there were an annual prize for the best group how would this be measured
2) What ideas did the women have for use of the Chanasa Fund
We had good feedback that will be used at the Trustees' Meeting on Wednesday evening. Judith Penchwira was interested and it may be that she would make another Chanasa trustee. Her interest is training and she has business experience.She handled the women well and could make them laugh. There were some concerns raised and quite a long discussion about the groups wanting to use the Chanasa Fund to develop their own business alongside Chanasa orders. This needs some careful thinking as we know from experience that the women have needed Chanasa to fund money for materials and maintenance as they would otherwise pay themselves all the money they received.
I have visited all the groups and covered a range of issues about how they are working. This week Alice and I will visit them together and I will collect the products they have made. Today there is the Group Leaders and Tailors outing to African Habitat to learn about the importance of quality control. We will have a chance to talk a bit more over a drink.
I am also going to try and make contact with Mrs. Savanjani, the wife of the Deputy High Commissioner here in Blantyre. She runs Skyline and I met her husband when raising money for the Dr. H L Potter Endowment Fund. If I can interest her in Chanasa she may be another helpful person. It seems to me that it will take some time to create a real team of Chanasa Trustees who feel they are involved and own the charity.