Today, we celebrate the incredible women we have the honour of working with in Malawi. First up we have Maria, an area mechanic and former midwife from Kasungu!
Last October, Pump Aid’s Patrick Luong visited our programmes out in Malawi, from Blantyre in the south, to the informal settlements around the capital city Lilongwe, to the hard-to-reach rural villages of Kasungu district.
If there’s one key takeaway from the whole experience, it’s to never underestimate the power of human resilience and resourcefulness.
It’s no secret that women have a tougher time in developing countries. Until recently, Malawi had one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. Thankfully, the government recently raised the legal age to marry from 15 to 18. But there’s one incredibly important argument for women’s liberation that simply can’t go unnoticed: encouraging women’s participation in the workforce.
You may remember Maria from a couple of blog posts we made earlier in the year. Patrick had been following her work through updates from our programmes director – but it was finally time for Patrick to meet her in person. Maria is a no-nonsense Malawian mother, having had six children herself, she’s no stranger to the dangers of childbirth and the struggle to find time to care for them.
Maria, 45, now has six grown-up children, and is one of the most successful among our 25 entrepreneurs trained and supported in our self-supply pilot project. She now serves 89 rural communities in her district, and has customers coming to her and has an order book, steady pipeline and forecasts for future business.
Her communities no longer have to wait months or even years for their water supply to be restored, instead they contact Maria when they are in need and she has their pump back up and running within a day or two for a small fee worth paying.
It’s a win-win situation for Maria and all her customers because the additional income has enabled Maria to upsize her home, buy a new bike and livestock and she even has plans to buy a motorcycle so she can reach the communities she attends to more rapidly.