German Embassy supports “People of the Sun” and Bangwe Carvers in Blantyre
Enlarge image Member of the Bangwe carvers at work (© Johannes Scharlau)
Through the Embassy’s small grants programme, "People of the Sun" in Blantyre has received a grant of 7,500,000 Malawi Kwacha (about 10,000 EURO). People of the Sun’s mission is tohelp low-income artisans build sustainable businesses, which will raise their income and standard of living. In turn this will preserve their cultural heritage and ensure indigenous skills survive for the next generation. Unique designs and new ideas are tried and tested and finally produced by one of sereveral artisan groups in Malawi, mainly in the Blantyre area. People of the Sun market those products and export them the Sweden, the UK, the United States and other countries. They also sell the products in their showroom in the Mandala neighbourhood in Blantyre.
With the Embassy’s support, several groups of artisans will receive new tools and improvements to their workshops. The main beneficiary is the Bangwe Carvers Group in Bangwe, near Limbe. On 18 April 2016 Mr. Johannes Scharlau, Head of Administration at the German Embassy, together with Mrs. Maria Haralambidou of People of the Sun paid a visit to these artisans. Bangwe Carvers have been operating in partnership with People of the Sun since 2013. The group comprises of eight in Bangwe township. Here they produce different wooden products, following the award winning designs of People of the Sun. Their main challenge at the moment is capacity - they could not cope with the demand for their products any longer, and the production of the wood carvings takes a long time due to the limitations of their workshop.
With the Embassy’s donation, the group’s workspace will be enlarged and secured. New and more sophisticated tools will be purchased in order to further improve the quality of their products, but at the same time the traditional and uniquely Enlarge image Finished products for sale in Blantyre (© Johannes Scharlau) Malawian way of producing the artefacts will be preserved. Their products are sold through People of the Sun in Blantyre Malawi and in 2015 their products were among the best in Africa. They were selected and showcased during the "Africa Design Days in Morroco".
Make sure you stop at the People of the Sun showroom in Blantyre the next time you visit Malawi’s commercial capital!