Just over a year ago, I returned from a long trip to Malawi - the world's poorest country. While I was volunteering at Lilongwe Wildlife Centre helping out with their education projects, I had the pleasure of meeting a man named Hardwell. My job was to accompany him on the centre's community outreach programme and assist local villagers with their organic vegetble plots. Hardwell and I immediately started to get on very well as we shared passions for teaching, permaculture and sustainable living. He is currently doing a lot of good in his community, promoting sustainable living practices and organic permaculture.
Bearing in mind Malawi is officially the world's poorest country, with average wages of around $1USD a day, he never allowed me to cover his bus fare to and from the outreach locations and, in some cases, even bought my fare too. In fact, the only time I gave him anything, I took him to the bar on the grounds of the Wildlife Centre and bought him a Fanta. He was surprised and incredibly grateful. I completely trust him. Since returning have regularly been in contact with him. He is one of - if not the - kindest person I have ever met.
A recent facebook update of his:
"I am a permaculture person working in rural area of Southern part of Malawi, Africa. I work with very local people on improving their households by teaching them about home gardening and the main principles of conservation Agriculture for their staple field. One of the main question that i am still have is that: how can people in the village (who don't know anything about modern technology and other dangers of GMO products etc) get access to great resources that can help them increase their knowledge?"
I recently received a message from him saying that he and his family of nine are no longer able to rent a small piece of farm land on which they grew fresh vegetables all year round. They have been searching for other plots of land but are unable to rent any more. He mentioned to me that he and his family have managed to find a piece of good farm land but it was for sale, not to rent.
The total cost was $2522USD, with a minimum payment of of $315 USD per month for eight months. He is twenty years old and earns the highest income of his family, and I could tell it was upsetting him that he could not help them as much as he'd like. He told me that his family could only afford to pay $157 USD per month and any small contribution that I and my friends could make would be a blessing for his family. The plot of land is a relatively large one (70x70 metres), which means any surplus produce could potentially be sold, providing a small income.
Having spent a lot of time in Malawi I know just how important fertile land can be, especially for a large family, and without land to grow food on, it could be the beginning of some very tough times for them.
Due to the nature of the current land owner's demands, Hardwell will need as much money as I can give him as soon as possible. I will be contributing myself, but I thought how wonderful it would be if I was able to send over the amount in full and give him and his family a lifeline. If there is anyone out there who want to see what a difference a small sum of money can make, I don't think you will find many worthier causes than this.
He knows nothing about this crowdfunder project, as he would probably not let me. Help me to give a good friend a big surprise and lifeline.