A Thousand Thanks for Chiswick Charity
Visitors to Malawi witness the grant of Microloan's 1000th loan
Four Chiswick residents returned from Malawi last week cheered by the news that their charity, the Microloan Foundation, had just made its one thousandth loan to a desperately poor family there.
Peter Ryan, Managing Trustee of the charity, was accompanied by Rev. Michael Riley, Vicar of St Paul’s church in Grove Park, Beryl Kessel and Lynette Royle during the ten-day trip. The group met many of the beneficiaries of the charity to discuss the ways in which Microloans – often as little as £15 - had improved their lives.
Lynette Royle told ChiswickW4.com: “It was a very humbling experience to see how these people live without any of the comforts that we take for granted in Chiswick. Kids dressed in rags we wouldn’t let our animals sleep on play with footballs made from bags tied up with string, and an empty plastic water bottle is a highly prized toy.
“A majority of the families we met look after children orphaned by AIDS as well as their own dependants, with no prospect whatsoever of employment. Their loans allow them to buy goods to trade at market or materials to start up small businesses like knitting and dressmaking. After three or four loans they are usually sufficiently profitable for them to send their kids to school – about £5 a term - and apply for further finance from the bank.”
The visitors also met village chiefs and elders who expressed their heartfelt thanks to the people of west London for the support they receive. One told the group: “When I first heard that wazungus (white people) were to visit my village, I was very nervous. What I would like to say now is this: you have made a real difference to one group of my people. But I have nine more groups who also need your support. I beg you to stay and offer them the same chance.”
The Microloan Foundation, a UK registered charity, is run entirely by volunteers and has no UK overheads or expenses. All those who visited the projects in Malawi paid for their own travel and accommodation costs.
May 10, 2004