Malawi is the warm heart of Africa, with the friendliest of people and stunning scenery of abundant flora and fauna. Home to the world's ninth largest lake, the natural beauty of Malawi's seemingly endless miles of coastline is astounding.
Before becoming independent in 1964, Malawi was named Nyasaland, and was ruled by the British Empire. However, the European treaties that divided up African land left Malawi in a precarious situation; despite beautiful shorelines and still waters, the country is landlocked by bigger, wealthier countries. Being landlocked is a significant hurdle for economic development, and in Malawi, it shows.
Agriculture is the predominant sector in Malawi, and many rely on subsistence farming to feed themselves, rather than being able to earn a living from their crops. The United Nations Development Programme reports that almost 71% of the population in Malawi live under the poverty line of $1.90 per day.
As the Malawian government have high debt repayments to honour, there is little available tax revenue to fund public services like schools and healthcare. Over 50% of children drop out of primary school where there are, on average, around 60 children to a class. All of these problems, along with marrying and having children at a young age, means that only around 15% of adult women have at least some secondary school education.
We believe that the Malawian people deserve a chance to build a sustainable livelihood so that more people have the opportunity to thrive financially.
Our very own Stelia has come a long way since enrolling on the first intake for United Amayi's conversational English course.
Stelia has always been exceptionally intelligent, but was unable to afford the fees to attend secondary school.
After her success on her course, United Amayi chose Stelia to complete an intense teaching course to enhance her skills.
Stelia has been working with United Amayi for four years, and with her wages is able to send her children to school so that they have opportunities in the future.
We are incredibly lucky and honoured to have such a fabulous teacher!
When Mary first joined United Amayi, she was unable to read and write in Chichewa or English. After graduating from United Amayi, Mary has gone from strength to strength!
Not only has she set up her own business, but she also works for the charity Water Aid. We are absolutely thrilled to see the support we offer bringing success to a wonderful lady! Watch the video to hear from Mary herself.
Hilda is another of United Amayi's first conversational English graduates from our intake of 2014.
After learning how to converse with more potential customers, Hilda decided to start her own business selling charcoal and firewood to local people and businesses in the area.
3 years later, Hilda has more financial freedom, and has been able to undertake some home improvements to make sure her house is water-tight for the rainy season.
We are very proud to see Hilda's progress since graduating from United Amayi, and wish her all the success for her future.
Katherine was one of our most shy students, and sometimes stammers when she speaks in both Chichewa and English.
After going through our conversational English course, Katherine has built up confidence for public speaking. As her confidence shines through, her stammer is improving and becoming less noticeable. Now, she feels ready to seek employment with her new skills. Well done, Katherine!