In March the Malawian government declared a state of emergency after heavy rains led to severe flooding in the southern regions of the country. This was followed by Cyclone Idai which left behind further destruction.
MicroLoan Foundation supports over 3,600 people in the worst hit regions of Nsanje, Chikwawa and Mulanje. These women and their families have been affected by the disaster and its aftermath to varying degrees. Many houses have been severely damaged and some of our beneficiaries have lost their homes entirely. Over 85,000 people throughout Malawi were displaced and forced to seek shelter in temporary camps that were set up to house them.
In the last three months our generous supporters have donated an incredible £70,000 to support affected families. The funds are now being used to restore lives. Our worst hit clients have been provided with emergency grants allowing them to purchase materials to repair and rebuild their homes. To help the women focus on getting their business back up and running MicroLoan has rescheduled or completely written off loans.
A family’s turmoil
Agness is one of our clients from Mulanje. She became the sole provider for her family earlier in the year when her husband fell ill and ended up bedridden. With four children, plus her husband to care for the pressure for her business to succeed intensified. Even before the floods hit the family was struggling to make ends meet.
The heavy rains and cyclone ruined Agness’s business and completely wiped out her home. They have been forced to take refuge in a small one room building that had previously served as a kitchen and storage room. No family should have to live like this. The fact that her husband’s health is worsening is a sign that the family won’t cope living in conditions like this for very long.
Last week, as a result of your support, Agness received an emergency grant to help rebuild her home.
Because her active loan was written off Agness did not have the additional worry of making her repayments. She has been able to focus her time and energy into house repairs and restarting her business. She has already started moulding bricks and purchasing other building materials to start the reconstruction process.
Supporting long term needs
The funds you donated ensures that MicroLoan can continue operations in these southern areas allowing us to remain a vital support system for the women affected by this devastating natural disaster.
In the aftermath of this disaster many of our clients were left vulnerable. A network of humanitarian aid organisations has provided emergency support such as food provision, this support is vital for short term relief. As the families return home from the camps and no longer have access to emergency aid the women are in great need of new capital to get their businesses back on track. As you can imagine these women who were struggling to access finance before the disaster are now even less likely to be able to borrow money. They are seen as high risk. This is why your support, enabling MicroLoan to offer new loans and business mentoring is vital.
Our work focuses on ensuring our clients survive in the medium and long term as the impact of the disaster is still unravelling. With crops ruined and land damaged the risk of famine is high. We want to ensure that the women we support are in the best position possible to avoid this. Funds are being used to help all clients restore their livelihoods and homes as quickly as possible so that they are prepared and able to maximise on the growing season when it starts in November. We have had incredible feedback from the women who are expressing how important MicroLoan’s support is for their longer terms needs.
The MicroLoan team in Malawi have worked extremely hard over the past few months and have told us that they are truly grateful to the public for helping the affected families. On behalf of our clients and the whole MicroLoan team thank you to everyone who donated.
You have helped bring hope to people when they felt there was none.