(Tucson, AZ) — Project Malonda has announced the creation and distribution of the “My Malonda Girls” line of dolls. Each doll is named after a student of the Project Malonda trade school and each doll’s clothes are made by a graduate from the Reap What You Sew School for Women in Malawi, Africa (“Malonda” means “trade” in Malawi’s Chichewa language). All proceeds of the sales of the doll line will assist women in impoverished countries in receiving trade skills and education to start their own businesses.
In less than five years, the Reap What You Sew School for Women has been changing the course of women’s lives in one of the poorest countries in the world. Over 90% of the school’s graduates are now running successful businesses in their villages. The school’s unique approach was featured in the acclaimed documentary film aptly titled “Reap What You Sew,” which has garnered nine film festival awards and aired on five national and international television networks.
The school’s founder—speaker, author and radio personality Dr. Deb Waterbury—says the “My Malonda Girls” dolls are another way for people to support women who have limited opportunities for advancement.
“To our knowledge, there is no other doll like this on the market,” says Waterbury. “The clothes for the dolls are made exclusively by graduates of the Reap What You Sew school from authentic material and designs in Malawi. These dolls are not off a factory line; the seamstresses are making these by hand with high quality materials. Each doll is named after a student or graduate and a short story of the woman’s life is included with each doll. Purchasing a doll offers educational opportunities to women who have no other training and whose families live in abject poverty. These dolls are designed to celebrate multicultural generations, encourage creativity, and influence entrepreneurship.”
Students of the Reap What You Sew School for Women are required to pay a nominal tuition to attend so they are personally invested, but the school’s expenses— tuition, teacher salaries, sewing machines, material, and other necessities— are currently supplied by tax-deductible donations from individuals and companies.
Dr. Waterbury says this project represents a free-market solution that offers women a hand-up instead of a hand-out.
Two years ago, the Likatho family in Malawi, Africa was starving. The parents were unable to find work and feed their children. Their daughter, Maureen, was an uneducated 22-year-old who applied and was accepted to the Reap What You Sew School for Women. During the six-month program, Maureen learned the skills to become a successful tailor, making clothes of all types for men, women, and children. Through generous donors in the United States, Maureen and her fellow graduates were given free sewing machines and material along with business training. Today, Maureen is an entrepreneur whose business is helping to feed herself, her parents, and her siblings.
The school has been so successful that Dr. Waterbury has talked with leaders in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and even Pakistan about opening schools in their countries. Waterbury says Project Malonda will replicate what the Reap What You Sew school continues to do for families like Maureen’s, and while donations are necessary now, her hope is that it will begin to sustain itself in just a few years.
“We have watched women open bank accounts for the first time in their lives and are now able to feed their families and pay school fees for their children,” says Waterbury. “My Malonda Girls dolls are both a means and an end to continue to provide employment opportunities and training for women in impoverished nations. We are literally changing the culture one woman, one business at a time.”
For more information visit https://mymalondagirls.com/.
About Dr. Deb Waterbury:
Dr. Deb Waterbury is the founder of two trade schools for impoverished women in Malawi, Africa—The Reap What You Sew School for Women and Project Malonda (www.ProjectMalonda.org )—and has authored fourteen books, including her #1 Amazon bestseller, “We are Mother Abraham.” She hosts two weekly shows, “Real Life with Deb Waterbury” and “Get Real with Deb Waterbury.” She acquired her Doctor of Ministry from Pillsbury Seminary. She currently resides in Tucson, Arizona, with her husband, Jeff, a Lt. Colonel in the Air Force National Guard. For more information visit: http://www.DebWaterbury.com.