Likhubula – Vulnerables Support Trust
The Mulanje Mountain in Malawi is the second biggest Massiv in Africa! We wanted to discover it as a family and decided to find local village guides to bring us there. We found Trekking Allies – Malawi by Foot! They grew up in these mountains and they know this Massiv the best, it is their home!
As we were walking to one of the most beautiful natural pools, we have ever experienced, Ivory, one of the guides, started explaining us, that Trekking Allies Malawi is a village-based social tour operator and that the tour’s incomes partially (60%) go to the Vulnerable Support Trust for supporting the most vulnerable people in its village, Likhubula, and the areas around.
We have put together some information about this Trust so that you can know more about it. We think it is highly valuable that this village organizes long-term humanitarian actions by itself and we would like to invite you to support this initiative, proud to be of!
What is the Vulnerables Support Trust (VST)?
It’s a local based non-profit organisation, which was found by Mr. Ivory Kaliati together with further village men and women to support the most vulnerable people in the area of Likhubula, traditional authority Mabuka, Mulanje District in Malawi, Southeast Africa.
Who are the most vulnerable people?
- Elders, who do not have children
- Orphan children without any reliable relative
- People with albinism
- HIV infected people
- Persons with disabilities or diseases
The reality of various vulnerable families in the village led Mr. Ivory Kaliati to come up with the idea of developing social tourism in his region. He and later on his neighbors and friends organized themselves to collect finance by guiding on Mount Mulanje and in other natural places in Malawi.
Why support the Vulnerable Support Trust?
To fight hunger, to adapt and to mitigate climate change, to promote education and last but not least, to listen to the most vulnerable.
1. Due to extremely high prices of maize in Malawi people cannot afford to buy Malawi’s basic food anymore and they suffer starvation. Especially elders, who live alone and cannot work anymore or who are disabled are hit by this situation. Everything gets even more complex for people with AIDS/HIV, which actually need a balanced diet.
2. Boys and girls fail to attend school since their parents send them to carry firewood as a way to get some income. Some students achieve good records and are ready to attend secondary school. Nevertheless, their parents cannot afford to pay the school fees and the children and teenagers stay at home or start working.
3. Since February 2022 when Cyclone Anna hit Malawi, people have been struggling to re-build their houses. But Cyclone Freddy in March 2023 hit against all these efforts. Currently, more people have lost their houses or roofs and they are living in humanitarian camps. The climate crisis means severe droughts and floods and the consequently loss of crop production, which consequently means hunger crisis.
4. The most vulnerable feel lonely and forgotten.
What does the Vulnerable Support Trust do?
1. Purchase and distribute maize to vulnerable families surrounding the communities.
2. Support every single vulnerable girl and boy with school fees.
3. Advocate for civic education (environmental, health, gender) at the village. VST organizes the village’s heads to ask the village chief to educate the villagers. VST encourages every vulnerable family to plant 5 trees at home during the rainy season as a way of dealing with climate change.
4. Take the time to listen to the most vulnerable people’s stories and thoughts.
At the beginning VST focused on visiting sick people, supporting families with financial resources for hospital attendants and distributing food. At some point VST began to seek permission from the village heads to gather people and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and the importance of following medication. Since climate change is becoming more obvious every year, especially in the villages, for VST it is essential to educate and take action on protecting the forest by avoiding unnecessary cutting down of trees and charcoal burning. VST encourages the participation of young and adult volunteers in the village.
Mr. Ivory Kaliati and the supporters of VST are part of the community in the village and they, as well, have limited access to resources, which makes the social commitment even more valuable.
In extreme scenarios like when hit by climate change-caused cyclones, they also become vulnerable and are not able to support families, which mostly lose their houses, their plantations, their food or their beloved ones.
How can YOU help the Vulnerable Support Trust?
- Book your tours to Mulanje with: Trekking Allies – Malawi by Foot. (https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100086186551391 )
- Support financially for:
- Building a food center out of natural materials, where vulnerable registered individuals can gather once in a month to collect foods.
- Collect and distribute foods.
- Support school fees
- Rebuilding houses.
- Bakery: Likhubula dreams of its own bakery. This is a long-term project, which would support Likhubula’s entrepreneurship and regular income.
- Spread the word! Share this post for reaching more people to support VST or tell your friends and family about this fully Malawian village organization.
The village chiefs and traditional authorities have congratulated VST on the good valuable work that the team has been doing, so we do!
For supporting VST you can directly contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org
Or contact us on: email@example.com