Malawian coffee growers thank Taiwan

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Widows and coffee-growing farmers from Malawi have thanked Taiwan for the support rendered to them.

The widows and coffee growers visited Pingtung in southern Taiwan on Monday this week to express appreciation to a Taiwanese foundation for helping them improve their lives.

Malawi coffee farmers

Two Malawian widows assisted by the Bjorgaas Foundation display gifts. (Image: www.taipeitimes.com)

The Taiwan foundation, Bjorgaas Foundation and the Family Mart convenience store chain have worked together over the past four years to lend support to Malawi through donations as well as selling coffee.

Serrah, one of the widows who travelled to Taiwan, expressed gratitude to the foundation and the Taiwan people for giving her the means to raise chickens and pigs and later build her own house.

Chou Wen-chen, executive director of the Bjorgaas Foundation, said the foundation has since 2005 helped widows through a community organization, Chitatata, to be self-reliant by providing subsidies or skills assistance.

“The widows have used the profits from raising chickens to build a day-care nursery, forming a virtuous circle,” Chou said.

Coffee is a major source of revenue for Malawi but due to exploitation by intermediaries as well as price fluctuations in the world market, many coffee growers often cannot make a living.

The foundation buys coffee from smallholder farmers at a reasonable price, roasts and packages it for sale in Taiwan with the profits going to the community program in Malawi.

In addition to that revenue, Chou said that the foundation is setting the goal for this year’s donations at NT$7.5 million (US$231,550), which she said will be used on education, especially for women in Malawi.

“Many of the Malawian women do not have a chance to receive education,” Chou said.

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