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Christian Aid/Amaru Photography
Christian Aid/Amaru Photography

Sisters Stronger Together

Tuesday August 31 2021

Val Brown, Community Relations and Fundraising Manager with Christian Aid Scotland introduces this year's harvest campaign


After a summer of sunshine and rain, we're settling in now for a season of mist and mellow fruitfulness. Much as we might begrudge the rain, the crops in our fields and the fruit we harvest rely on sun, rain and warmth. Look around, as Jesus suggests to his disciples in John 4, and you'll see fields which are ripe for harvesting.

At harvest we remember and give thanks for the food that our planet provides us with. God’s created order that gives rhythm to the seasons and sees all the intricate ecosystems work in harmony to produce food from the land.   

In southern Malawi, women like Janet Ben (pictured) are struggling in the face of the climate crisis and unpredictable weather patterns. Janet’s home was destroyed during a cyclone, and extreme weather and flooding washed away livestock and damaged crops. The climate crisis is pushing her community deeper into poverty. 

But hope has come from the tree of life, the baobab, and an amazing group of women.

The baobab tree, described by David Livingstone as a carrot planted upside down, grows superfruit which look like fuzzy, green rugby balls. Janet joined a woman’s group that make juice from the baobab fruit. The Makande Women’s Group chair, Eddina Yonsai says ‘It’s a real team effort. Some women go to get baobab fruits, some clean the bottles, while some stir the juice, put it in the bottles, stick on the labels and close the bottles. That’s how we work.’

The women are given training in juice making and business basics, along with a low interest loan. They make up to 6,000 bottles of juice a month which is sold at market. Powered by sustainable energy, these enterprises offer a way out of poverty. 

As the group grows, so do the benefits for the community. So far, 188 jobs have been created through the women’s enterprise. Their average monthly income has increased tenfold and as more women join the group they learn valuable skills from each other.

Janet hopes that the baobab juice business will fund her to return to education. She hopes to become a teacher. She says, “‘The vision I have for my family is that we should no longer be poor. I want us to be a family that will inspire others.”

This harvest please pray for women in Malawi, that they may continue to lift each other up, and give thanks for their achievements. Just like the women’s groups in Malawi, we are stronger together. Join with us this Harvest and help more communities to grow and thrive.

For more details about Harvest, visit caid.org.uk/harvest or contact Christian Aid at edinburgh@christian-aid.org or on 0131 220 1254.


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