American woman opens fashion workshop in Malawi

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American national Renata Aráuz-DeStefano has established a fashion training school in Malawi, in an effort to alleviate poverty.

The training institution named “Mwayi” was ceremoniously launched in Blantyre on Sunday. It will be instilling women with skills in fashion, tailoring and entrepreneurship.

Speaking to Malawi24 on the launch day, Renata expressed satisfaction over success of the project. She said it is a step towards sustainable development, one of the main objectives of the project.

“Mwayi is a combination of my commitment to social impact and my interest to having sustainable economic development. In order to be sustainable you cannot rely on charity, you need a business that is going to generate profit.”

A cross section of patrons at the event

A cross section of people that attended the event.

The 28 year old owes her motivation towards the investment to her experience as a Project Manager for FINCA Malawi back in 2014.

Destefano said there is a link between microfinance where she spent 4 years, and social entrepreneurship, hence taking a business approach in Mwayi.

Mwayi workshop is a product of partnership with a women organisation called Mai Aisha Sisters and Youth Aids Programme (MASYAP).

The organisation identifies young women to go for training at Mwayi.

Programme Manager for MASYAP, Catherine Ryland hailed the partnership. She said her organisation targets the youth with regard to health and empowerment which she believes will be achieved through teamwork.

She added that her organisation also conducts HIV/AIDS testing and counselling. It is predominantly Muslim but it is also open to young women who belong to other religions.

One of the beneficiaries of the Mwayi project who is part of MASYAP, Patuma Ayami, expressed gratitude for being considered.

“I was idle but thanks to Renata for helping me. Am now developing skills in tailoring and designing.”
Mwayi workshop will be training women within the age range of 18 to 25. According to Renata, women will be trained from a scratch. The school is located at Ginnery corner in Blantyre, next to Banja La Mtsogolo.

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