Malawi Islamic charity empowers rural women

In an attempt to rescue poverty-stricken rural women in Malawi, a local Islamic charity is providing entrepreneurship skills to the women regardless of their faith to achieve sustainable solutions to poverty.

In an attempt to rescue poverty-stricken rural women in Malawi, a local Islamic charity is providing entrepreneurship skills to the women regardless of their faith to achieve sustainable solutions to poverty.

This initiative was being praised as a “living hope” in the highly impoverished and least developed southern African nation.

“In Malawi, women constitute 60 percent of the total population and a larger percentage is rural women who are poor,” Abdul Razzaq Fattani, National Chairperson of Islamic Relief Agency (IRA), the charity implementing the program, said.

"They encounter enormous challenges in their quest for survival. It is for this reason that we introduced this empowerment program to alleviate their suffering and safeguard their integrity.

“Through this program, Fattani said, “we are identifying the poorest of the poor regardless of their faith inclinations, and we are providing them with tailoring and entrepreneurial skills and after the training, we give them sewing machines and start –up capital to enable them stand on their own.”

“The needs of poor rural women are quite overwhelming. Most of our beneficiaries are either divorced or widowed mothers. They shoulder a huge responsibility to provide for their families." "They go through pain to get something for their children to eat. We are therefore, doing everything possible to reduce rising levels of poverty among women in the rural areas of the country.”

He said, “Since the inception of the program a few years ago, the number of beneficiaries has been on the rise.”

“We started with a small group of women, but there has been a rise in the number of those in desperate need of support. We have so far reached out to more than 1,000 women.

“But due to limited resources, we are unable to take all on board. Funds permitting, we plan to reach to as many women as possible and extend the program to other parts of the country.”

From her side, Fatima Ndaila, National Chairperson of Muslim Women Organization (MWO) has hailed the program describing it as a “huge treasure”.

“The level of pain that poverty has subjected women to is quite indescribable. Scores of women in both urban and rural areas of the country are going through immense pain in their endless struggle for sustainable source of livelihood. This program is therefore a huge treasure which deserves our commendation,” Ndaila said.

Malawi is rated by the World Bank as one of the poorest and least developed nations in the world. Its majority poor people, according to the bank, struggle to survive on less than US$1 a day.

Malawi is a secular, but diverse religious nation. Islam is the second largest religion in the country after Christianity. Muslims, account for 36 percent of the country’ 16 million population.



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