When a Cycle of Good order drops through your door, you might have noticed that accompanying a few of our items, there’s a little card telling you who made it.
Behind every name, there’s a story, a family, and a woman carving out a better life for herself.
To mark International Women’s Day on 8th March, we’re privileged to discover more about the lives of the team in Malawi. We’d like to introduce you to Violet Taulo who is one of our tailors at Cycle of Good and you may have spotted her name tucked into your wallet or phone case.
Mary (left) and Violet
Mary Kamwendo, Cycle of Good Tailoring Manager in Malawi, took some time out to chat to Violet.
Q. Tell us about yourself?
A. My name is Violet Taulo. I was born in 1971 in Chiladzulu T.A Mpama in Poya village, Malawi.
Q. What was it like growing up in the village as a girl?
A. Growing up in the village wasn’t the easiest in so many ways. My parents were poor and they couldn’t afford to support me to get a good education. I did manage to complete secondary school but it took a long time as my parents needed to find the money to pay for school fees. This meant that I had to return several times to complete my studies so I didn’t finish until I was 19.
Q. When did you move to Blantyre and why?
A. In 1993, aged 22, I met a fine young man who is my lovely husband. He made me move from Chiladzulu to Blantyre, Chilomoni township to start a new life as husband and wife. We went on to have 4 children, 2 boys and 2 girls. One of our boys has special needs, he doesn’t walk and doesn’t speak.
Q. What’s your daily life like?
A. I start my day with a word of prayer. I do my house chores and prepare my kids for school. Then I get ready for work at Cycle of Good (Beehive).
Q. Do you think it was a wise idea to move to Blantyre to start a new life?
A. It was a blessing that my husband decided for us to move to Chilomoni because in the process I ended up being part of the biggest organisation that’s transforming a lot of lives in the community of Chilomoni.
Q. How did you know of Beehive and how did you start getting involved?
A. I had been staying at home for a while but I decided to join the tailoring school so that I had something to do when I’m home and be able to help my husband and support my family. When I finished training as a tailor, Cycle of Good had just been set up. I was lucky to be one of a few women who were provided with work. It started as a few tailoring pieces here and there but I was later offered full time employment. Little did I know that it would be as big and great as it is now.
Q. What does working for Cycle of Good mean to you?
A. It means the world to me I can’t ask for anything greater than the working environment I’m in at the moment. I don’t need a bus to get to work (which is very costly). I walk to work and by doing that I save money for use at home. I’ve met lovely people and I have a full family in Cycle of Good. My work colleagues are so supportive and so lovely. Apart from all this my special needs child got assistance from Mother Teresa Children’s Center (MTCC) which is part of Beehive. They gave him a wheelchair which eased the way I used to carry him. Before this, I was putting him on my back and it wasn’t easy to carry a growing child on your back.
Q. What are your hopes for the future?
A. Cycle of Good has empowered me to give a helping hand to make a better life for my family. It’s my prayer that it grows beyond measure and gives other women such an opportunity.
Mary Kamwendo tells us why Violet is such an inspiration to her.
“Violet is my inspirational woman because I have seen her change her life from one situation to another in a positive way. She was a full time house wife but she did not accept the position as her only option and instead she decided to uplift her life by learning tailoring skills, initially in an informal way. Violet has a child with special needs, but this did not stop her from doing weekend classes for a year in order to improve her tailoring skills.
Many mothers in her situation would not have taken such a step to help her child. Unfortunately, many children who have special educational or physical needs are kept behind closed doors (huge stigmas exist in Malawi). Violet is different, her young son was always with her and proudly carried on her back.
When Violet heard about MTCC (established by the charity Krizevac and part funded by surplus income now created by Cycle of Good), she did not hesitate to ask for help. There is no government funded specialist support available. MTCC provided physiotherapy every week until her son turned five years old. They also provided a wheelchair. Violet was never ashamed of her son and the challenges he’s faced. She is proud of him and he is now 14 years old.
She is among the best tailors at Cycle of Good…”
Violet Taulo. An inspiration to us all.