Malawi is one of the world’s most impoverished countries, ranking 173rd out of 182 countries on the Human Development Index. With families living on less than 40p a day, poverty is widespread with little opportunities to escape the poverty trap. The cycle of poverty continues for generations to come, with children not being educated and following the footsteps of their mothers by scavenging the streets for food, begging for money and eventually turning to sex work.
Driven into Prostitution by Extreme Poverty
The lack of opportunities in Malawi is forcing more and more women into the sex industry. Widows, divorcees and women with HIV are marginalised in society with little hope of getting a job. They are faced with a painful dilemma of how to find money for basic survival for themselves and their children. In this context, sex work has become a means for survival: a path which not only puts women and girls at risk of contracting HIV but also exposes them to violence, abuse and rape.
Forgotten Women is on the ground in Malawi creating opportunities for women to escape the poverty trap. Our ‘Poverty to Profit’ project enables women to earn £60 or more a month whereas before they would have earned less than 40p a day. This is enough to feed, clothe and send children to school.
“This is life changing for me and my family, I am so happy that I can buy food for my children and send them to school, I want my business to grow so one day I can employ local women and help them too.” Christina, Malawi
Every woman has a different skill set and passion, this is why it is important and part of a successful project construct that the team sit with each woman and let her draw up her own business plan. We evaluate and cost the business and create a profit forecast. If everyone is happy, we will then give training on how to handle that particular business and then accompany each woman to buy her business components. The nature of businesses for women in Malawi range from hairdressing salons, restaurants and even transport hiring.
Please support these women in regaining their independence and their dignity. You can make a difference and change the life of not just a woman, but an entire generation permanently.