Gosh I cant believe its been this long since I last posted! Between my full time job, finishing my Business Degree, raising my growing girls and running JARDS I really have not had time to sit down and share what has been happening. And there has been a lot!
So lets see if I remember everything :)
Quite a lot happened this month…
The 2 most powerful African women – President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia & the then President of Malawi Dr Joyce Banda came together to work on ways to promote Malawian and Liberian women entrepreneurs. The Ministry of Gender & Children Welfare invited JARDS to showcase its products at the even – proud of the recognition I must say :D
Family is so important to me and my brother and his family flew in from Scotland to surprise everyone , it was the first time for me to see my nephew Nino and my niece Iemanja. And while they were here, they went down to Matawale FP School (my moms old primary school) to donate football uniform kits, pens, books, etc – that school got my mom out of the village, and we try to give back as much as we can so others can also get out. Still cant believe in 2014, there are no desks in classes and kids have to sit on the ground :(
We did 2 trainings, the first was in partnership with Base Budget ( http://www.basebudget.com/partners-and-sponsors.html ). Monika Visy who works for HSBC is the founder of Ba$e Budget and she offers basic budget skills trainings to entrepreneurs for free and in Janaury she conducted trainings in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lilongwe & Nairobi. In Malawi there was a group of 30+ entrepreneurs.
JARDS trained 40+ women in get this – bakery skills – we have sort of added bakery lessons to our portfolio basically because our ‘chief trainer’ my mom wants to retire to be a baker next year so we might as well offer bakery lessons to keep her busy :D. We use 2 outside ovens which run on burning bricks and some firewood – no electricity so very practical for those in the peri urban areas who do not have cookers or electricity to run cookers.
February – now
We are now the permanent wicker sellers at the monthly Farmers Market as well as the Kumbali Village Flea Market. We have been experimenting with colors and different shapes and designs… not so bad :)
Can you believe it we were semi-finalists for both Echoing Green Fellowship – http://www.echoinggreen.org/fellowship as well as the Unreasonable Institute Fellowship – http://unreasonableinstitute.org/getting that far means we are doing quite a good job and thats really encouraging to me and the team!
My good friend Dianne Dimmick Berning from Boise who came to visit last year and donated tons of stuff to Matawale School kept her promise to donate to help Matawale FP School. This year her donation combined with my own personal donation will help build 6 toilets for the school. When girls reach puberty in my country, one big thing that contributes them to miss school or drop out all together is lack of toilets in schools, although adding 6 toilets is not enough for a school that has over 500 pupils, it is a start…
The MOST exciting thing happened the first week of July, I was contacted by CNN Africa and they wanted to feature JARDS on their CNN African Start-up show. JARDS was the only start up interviewed in Malawi and I still cant believe it! The interview airs end July and I will definitely share it .
Phewwwww… once I started the words just kept flowing :) Promise to not take so long to share JARDS updates in future