In order to establish a deeper context of why THREEafrica is what it is, here is a bit of background information about Malawi as a nation and an explanation of why we think this work is necessary.
Malawi is a relatively small country located in the southern third of Africa. It shares borders with Tanzania, Mozambique, and Zambia. Malawi is small in not only its size, but in its economy as well. It typically ranks in the lower third of African countries in GDP, and even lower when considering GDP per capita or purchasing power. The Malawian economy is small and its currency is weak.
Like many under developed African countries, the bulk of the local economy is driven by agriculture. In Malawi, tobacco, tea, and sugarcane are the top exports. However, also like many other underdeveloped African countries, the upkeep of Malawi’s economy is largely reliant on foreign aid. It can be argued that cycles of poverty, corruption, and aid dependency keep countries like Malawi from developing. Because of this, we at THREEafrica advocate a model of empowerment. We believe the best way to empower someone is to provide them with the knowledge, opportunity, and confidence to make their own decisions and be in control of their own life. Through providing access to resources and support, THREEafrica promotes such independence and self-reliance.
In Malawi, primary education is free and public, but any sort of education past grade 8 costs money. In its largely agrarian society, the majority of inhabitants live below the poverty line. Women are often repressed, bear children at extremely young ages, and (in some areas) are subjugated to genital mutilation, making it much more difficult and rare for a young Malawian woman to gain access to secondary education than a young Malawian man.
It is our hope at THREEafrica to provide an avenue of educational opportunity for these young women. Many Malawians (male and female) make their living sewing and repairing garments made out of a local fabric called chitengi. Chitengi is common in Malawi and its neighbor, Zambia, and is almost entirely ubiquitous in the local culture. It is a beautiful and extremely detailed fabric containing very unique and regional patterns.
Our goal at THREEafrica goal is to use the Fair Trade Model to employ local seamstresses in making various garments and accessories out of this beautiful fabric to sell abroad. All of the net profit from these sales will go directly into establishing education funds for young Malawian women.
Please feel free to browse through our selection of handmade chitenji products, and remember that any purchase you make will directly contribute to the education of a young Malawian woman.