Love Builds social enterprise dates golfers in fundraiser for procurement of industrial machines for street kids’ vocational skills training

* Love Builds’ objective aims at encouraging underprivileged kids off the street begging

* By offering a social transformation package that should economically empower them and their families

* We are currently operating from our base at Kaunjika Flats in Limbe which is adjacent to Escom

By Duncan Mlanjira

Love Builds, a social enterprise for Yohane Banda Foundation, is organising a charity golf tournament on January 21 to fundraise towards procurement of industrial machines to be used to Blantyre street connected children and their families in vocational skills training and their economic sustainability.

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Love Builds’ objective aims at encouraging underprivileged kids off the street begging by offering a social transformation package that should economically empower them and their families by engaging them in income generating activities.

Once the beneficiaries learn their trade and start producing various products, Love Builds markets them to generate revenue and a percentage of the proceeds ensures sustainability of the organization.

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One of the NGO’s Trustees, Yohane Banda said they are working in collaboration with Blantyre Golf Club and they target to raise MK14.5 million to buy a 6-station carousel, a 40cm by 30cm heat press, a cutting plotter and a 2 head embroidery machine.

“These industrial machines will help us manufacturer T-shirts, produce branded designs, embroidery and other fashionable items that will be well designed to attract the market.

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“We are currently operating from our base at Kaunjika Flats in Limbe which is adjacent to Escom offering tailoring lessons to the beneficiaries in our program.

“Currently, we have 4 beneficiaries and our growth expansion plan is to ensure those who have learned can lead another group of beneficiaries and set up other shops,” he said.

The tournament, set as a shotgun tee-off 8am, attracts a participation fee K70,000 for a team of two.

Over the years, street kids have become a menace prompting the authorities to consider taking them off the streets but they always return because they are not offered an alternative means of livelihood.

Vocational skills training being offered

Products being produced

Thus Yohane Banda Foundation decided to form the Love Builds social enterprise in order to economically empower them and their families to curb the rising number of street kid beggars following an upsurge of most criminal acts associated with them.

Yohane Banda Foundation — based in Malawi’s commercial city Blantyre — takes a different perception of the plight of these supposedly destitute members of society that they possess a great potential of being taken off the streets only if they are offered an alternative means of survival.

Founded in 2015 with the positive purpose of engaging with the street kids in an effort to extricate them from the misery they face on daily basis, the Foundation discovered that most of these youths — ranging from about 8 to 18 years old — are not orphans per se but are used by their jobless ‘parents and guardians’ to raise money for their families’ upkeep.

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Last year, the Foundation organised a fundraiser — a 57.5km charity Big Walk from Blantyre’s trading town of Limbe to Zomba City — that also acted as an awareness campaign to the general public to stop giving alms to the kids because that is what keeps them coming back to the streets even after been flushed out.

The fundraiser on October 7, 2020, was to help create a proper engagement system that could assist the Foundation to create informal market opportunities for the street kids’ parents and guardians.

Yohane Banda had said from the interactions they had with the kids before, if their jobless parents and guardians are given the opportunity, they can sustain themselves through informal business.

The Big Walk was graced by Minister of Gender, Community Development and Social Welfare, Patricia Kaliati as well as His Worship the Mayor of City of Blantyre, Councillor Wild Ndipo and other dignitaries that included members of the Asian Business Community (ABC).

Kaliati during the Big Walk last year

Before proceeding on the big walk, Kaliati had urged the general public to support foster homes, orphanages and other organizations that take care of needy children as opposed to giving them alms.

She applauded Yohane Banda Foundation, saying the support for the needy should be done modelled through such initiatives, which is “doing it the smart way”.

“Giving alms encourages the street kids to continue begging and in the end they inherit criminal behaviors from their [adult street smart] peers,” she had said. “Parents should also take care of their children by keeping them in schools and that we should all work together towards withdrawing kids from the streets.”

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