A bank that’s changing children’s lives in Malawi
Hannah is in Malawi for three days with her dad to visit a project that they’re funding. The project is run by Save the Children and Opportunity International, a micro-finance charity.
After a 2-hour flight from South Africa to Blantyre, we were immediately driven to Mandala House, the oldest house in Malawi, for lunch.
Over lunch, we learnt some basic information about Malawi. It has a population of roughly 15 million, and a life expectancy of approximately 50 years.
40% of the economy is derived from agriculture, with the main cash crop being tobacco, which has had a tough year due to the low market prices for this crop.
We then visited the largest market in Blantyre to chat with some of the stallholders who have benefited from the opening of an ‘Opportunity International’ bank in the centre of the market. This enables them to deposit their money safely and to take out small loans to grow their businesses.
The stallholders sell everything – from fruit and vegetables to your basic plumbing equipment! Many of them hope that they’ll make enough profit from their stalls to be able to afford first to send, and then keep, their children in school.
Later in the afternoon we drove an hour and a half south to Zomba. We’ll spend the next two days here visiting schools where Save the Children is working, as well as local markets and other clients of Opportunity International Bank Malawi.