There are many and varied women’s groups which use Butterfly Space, both for lessons and information and also as a place to sell their produce. It is an excellent all-encompassing idea that consistently brings the community together in a pro-active way. There are numerous different groups throughout Nkhata Bay doing a variety of things, some independently and some linked to Butterfly.
One of our most successful groups was initiated by Hayley Woodyatt, she taught the women to make delicious home-made peanut butter and six years on their business is still going strong. You can buy the product in reception at Butterfly and it is a best seller! We have also initiated many nutritional workshops with different groups over the years. Concentrating upon specific ingredients, like ginger, turmeric, garlic and moringa these tend to be a big cooking session to show people how to incorporate it into their diet. All the recipes and information can subsequently be found in the Information Centre. More recent opportunities with groups have seen workshops on samosa s, soap and business entrepreneurship and there is always the opportunity to do workshops as a volunteer if you have a particular skill or idea.
In April 2015 we held a Women’s Week here at Butterfly and had a whole week of activities, from making soya milk and fire reducing stoves, to natural medicine, jewellery making and motivational films and talks. It was a brilliant success with over 60 women attending daily and we hope this will let more women know the opportunities and the links that we are trying to offer them. Volunteers can always assist some of the groups as they progress. There are several local tailoring groups who sell their produce here and many local groups are up for learning new ideas if you have the expertise.
Another group that has become a regular as Butterfly Massage. A few of our past volunteers were trained in massage and wanted to help some of the local women here by training them up to start their own business. Twice a week on a Tuesday and Saturday afternoon, the massage ladies come to Butterfly to offer a twenty or forty-minute deep tissue massage for just a small cost. By supporting these women, they have been able to start their own business which will continue on long term.
A recent addition is Butterfly Baby Baskets started, and continued to be supported by Genna Davies a recent volunteer. A local women’s group learned how to weave the baskets and making them for this project gives them a constant source of income. Once finished donations then help fill up these baskets with useful items for a new born baby and mother; baby clothes, soap, toiletries, nappies, chitenji, and they are delivered to the maternity ward at Nkhata Bay Hospital.
There is great potential with other established women’s groups to teach them their own product to sell. The motto ‘one village, one project’ will take a longer-term commitment from our volunteers who wish to stay for more than three months, but there is massive potential to change livelihoods into the future. Business ideas include producing the following; soap, Rosella tea, sunflower oil and many others which will help the villagers produce and sell at local markets. Whether you want to work on an existing idea or have enough time to do something new, there are plenty of ideas for volunteers to get involved in.