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Bringing Big Dreams to Life

How Two Women Entrepreneurs Are Building a Brighter Future in Mkanda, Malawi

Emelesiya Mofati of Mkanda, Malawi, has a sweet smile and timid personality. But she also has a sense of humor. The gate around her home—a luxury in her community—is stamped with the words “Beware of Dog” in menacing black letters. But when you visit her home, you realize that her warning is for two tiny harmless puppies.

At 23, Emelesiya is not only a mother but a small business owner. Attached to her home is her small shop where she sells soap, salt, matches, medicine, batteries, cookies, candies, body lotion, and cooking oil. Owning her own business has been her dream, and it became reality in January 2022, just two months after her community received a LifePump—a gift that would change Emelesiya’s life and the life of her neighbors forever.

Set on a hill and surrounded by fields of corn, Mkanda is home to more than 800 people. While the village is only eight and a half miles from Malawi’s capital city of Lilongwe, the 160 families who call Mkanda home know what it’s like to survive without clean water.

After their old pump broke down, the people of Mkanda began to dig pits in a nearby field until they found water. Tragically, one of the pits was so deep that a small child drowned in it. As a result, they began digging shallower pits. When one dried up, they would dig another and another and another until each family had the water they needed to survive. The small amount of water they could find was contaminated, causing frequent bouts of
vomiting and diarrhea.

But on November 15, 2021, Design Outreach arrived in Mkanda to install a LifePump, provide COVID prevention training, and share the hope of the Gospel. After retrofitting the community’s old borehole with a LifePump, cool, fresh water from 138 feet underground began to flow. The people of Mkanda would never have to dig holes for water again.

With LifePump, Emelesiya has the water she needs to take care of her family, keep them healthy, and care for her new lemon, avocado, and pear trees she planted after the LifePump was installed. She also has the time and energy she needs to run a successful business—and dream of the future. “I wish for my business to grow so I can help other people in the community, not my family alone,” she says. “I would like to help others with startup capital so they can start their own businesses as well.”

But Emelesiya’s dreams do not end there.

“Though I currently have a small business, I would like to start a bigger business so I can help my husband provide for our family,” she says. “This is my hope for the future.”

Like Emelesiya, Teleza Lemani is a mother and business owner in Mkanda. Teleza owns a tearoom where she serves tea and bread. While she has operated her tearoom since 1996, it has not always been easy.

“The coming of Design 0utreach has really helped my tearoom business, because where I was getting water was far from my tearoom,” she says. “And often when I arrived at the place where I used to get water, there wasn’t any. My business mostly depends on water. It wasn’t easy for my business; it wasn’t easy for me. And it wasn’t easy for my customers, because the water that I was getting was contaminated, which was exposing my clients to diseases. But now, I’m able to get clean water from LifePump, and also it doesn’t take me long to fetch water. So, with LifePump, my business will be running smoothly.”

With nearby access to safe water to help make her tearoom more successful, Teleza is hopeful for the future. Because she doesn’t have to fear a pump failure or downtime with no water, she dreams of growing her business and perhaps even opening a grocery store one day.

“I am so grateful and happy for what you have done for my community and other communities around us,” she says. “Thank you.”

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