Thirty women from Nkhwazi Village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Mavwele in Mchinji have a sugary story to tell the world.
The women, under a grouping called Umodzi Bakery, are multiplying their money using a bakery and will challenge you that they are gradually bidding farewell to abject poverty that characterise their area.
They produce all sorts of products from wheat flour such as round buns, yellow buns, and bread among other bakery products, courtesy of Technical Entrepreneurial and Vocational Training Authority’s (Teveta) informal sector programme.
The programme, according to Teveta senior public relations specialist Lewis Msasa, intends to provide access to training to rural dwellers so that they become economically independent.
This year alone, Msasa said the authority has allocated K200 million ($400 000) towards such a cause.
Recently, senior officials from Teveta led by its board chairperson Rhoda Misomali were all smiles to learn about the fruits of their skills imparted in 30 poverty-stricken souls under the banner of Umodzi Bakery Group.
The group’s chairperson Miriam Jime testified before an audience that included traditional leaders, government officials and journalists that demand for their products is just overwhelming.
“Many would think that the bread that is found in most shops in the area comes from Lilongwe or other towns but no, it’s the work of our hands,” she said during a ceremony where Teveta handed over certificates to the group’s members.
Jime said the group, then, share the profits accrued from the sales after sometime.
Teveta regional service centre manager Victor Luwambala said Umodzi Bakery had undergone a 10-day intensive training in baking.
The members, according to Luwambala, were drilled in costing, pricing, hygiene and business management, among other modules.
“This is a demand driven programme and we provided the training to the group after we heard a knock on our doors by people from this area,” he said.
He added with a Chichewa adage: “Wamva mmimba ndi amene a matsegula chitseko [An early bird catches the worm].”
Teveta furnished the group with a start-up kit in baking and after the training the kit was donated as a start-up capital for the group, according to Misomali.
About K900 000 was spent to train the group.
In his remarks, Traditional Authority (T/A) Mavwele, informed Teveta officials during the graduation ceremony of Umodzi members that poverty is widespread in allthe areas under his jurisdiction.
He said Nkhwazi area alone has 120 000 people who are languishing in poverty but lauded the gesture by Teveta in providing training, which he said will elevate the welfare of his subjects.
On his part, Mchinji district social welfare officer Rodwell Chunga said Teveta is changing the lives of the people, not only in the district but the country at large.
“Tapera Community Based Organisation here in Mchinji is another good example of an organisation that has ventured in bakery with support from Teveta, but is making huge sums of money from such a venture.
They continue to make quality products and I hope Umodzi has discovered the same gold like that of Tapera,” said Chunga.