It has never been so important to help the ultra-poor in Africa
We can’t offer our friends in Africa the gift of a vaccine to help them beat the pandemic
But we can offer them the gift of tools to help them get through the devastation of the economic pandemic
Lizzy (above explains what this means for so many across Africa
‘‘I was going to the market everyday to sell the clothes I had made but there were few people about and I sold very little. I did not know what to do. When I heard that the Zambian Government had made it compulsory for all citizens to wear a face mask in public, I hit on the idea of making face masks. I spent a day working out how to make them and made 75. I then took them to the main market in Kitwe (the nearest large town) and sold all 75! This was the most money I had made in months. Since then I have continued to make masks and have done very well.”
The pandemic has been devastating in many African countries where the poorest people are day labourers. This means they earn one day’s money for one days work, with no savings and no food in the cupboard. So when lockdowns begun within days there was no money and no food. The poorest have literally been starving to death in their enforced isolation.
Lizzy (above) and her family living in Zambia, were very vulnerable to death by starvation. She is the main breadwinner because she has been trained in tailoring and been given a TWAM sewing machine. Her husband is a poorly paid teacher unable to earn due to the closure of schools. Lizzy was doing very well and her business was thriving, but then along with the rest of us, her life suddenly changed. Like so many businesses across the world her income dried up virtually overnight.
We can all understand her dilemma as we have witnessed deserted high streets and the collapse of many high street brands, many of which like Lizzy, sell clothes. But Lizzy turned her personal disaster into her opportunity by finding out how to make facemasks.
"The pandemic meant nobody came to the market - but then I had an idea!"
This shows us the resilience of small businesses to adapt and survive. It genuinely does mean the difference between life and death. Mary on the front cover has the same story.
This is why, now more than ever we need to send containers filled with machines and tool kits to Africa. This is why they need us now, more than they have ever needed us.
Will you support the Easter appeal to provide people like Lizzy with a machine or tool kit to help them survive the pandemic?
Help support sustainable livelihood creation by choosing to make a regular or one-off donation.