YONECO recently held an engagement session with 30 women who earn a living through begging along the streets of Limbe town in Blantyre.
The women who are involved in street-begging have heartbreaking realities: their children accompany them, thus depriving them of their right to education and exposing them to potential dangers.
Thus, the session was organized in order to empower the women and help them utilize their skills to gain a more stable income and provide better living conditions for their families. During the session, it was noted that the women have various skills such as knitting, baking, and hairdressing, as well as potential for small-scale businesses such as selling fruits and vegetables.
During the session, the women acknowledged that working could provide them with much higher incomes than begging on the streets, which exposes them to poor living conditions, health risks, and violence.
At the end of the session, the women agreed to set up a savings and loans group by contributing MK 1,000 each to create a pool of money that they could use to access soft loans for their businesses. Additionally, they decided that all children of school-going age should be enrolled in school for the upcoming academic year.
Most of the women who were engaged are originally from Zomba, Thyolo, Chiradzulu, Balaka, and Chikwawa districts, as well as Blantyre rural. One woman from Chikwawa explained that her current situation was due to floods that destroyed her house and washed away her property.