small businesses

Planting in Malawi

Planting in Malawi


December is the time to plant in Malawi for the current growing season. Kanyenyeva Ministries has hired local villagers to plant their new farm land. The new farm is about 137 acres.





The rains have started and the upcoming growing season is expected to be fruitful. We praise God for this new business which is another step toward Kanyenyeva Ministries being self-sustaining.




The money to purchase the land and start this business was provided by Immanuel Lutheran Church in Crosby, MN.




The crops grown on this farm will be used to feed the children at the orphan project. The crops will also be sold and the profit will be used for current expenses at the orphan project.


Sanitary pads will help keep girls in school



“Empower”. I recently learned a bit more about what that word means.

A little over a year ago, I attended a national conference for Parish Nurses and viewed a poster session about the Days for Girls program. (DFG)

DSC_0315Days for Girls is a program that aims to enable teenage girls in third-world countries to attend school every day that classes are in session. Sadly, this is not usually the case. Teenage girls stay home during their monthly menstrual period due to lack of sanitary products that can provide them with a sense of security to go out in public without fear of accidents and embarrassment. The girls become, quite literally, prisoners to their bodily functions. They miss school on a regular basis, and thus become continually behind in their lessons, trying to catch up with and compete with the boys. Women beyond school age face similar problems in going about their daily lives. They too often have to stay home and “hide” during their monthly periods.DSC_0135

Days for Girls is an International Program where volunteers sew sanitary kits to be given to both teenage girls and women. Each kit contains washable and reusable “shields” and “liners” that attach around a pair of panties using a snap. Also included in the kits are panties, zip lock bags for storage and washing, a bar of soap, and a washcloth. All kit contents come inside a cloth drawstring bag.

The DFG program concepts continued to fester in my heart and mind long after I returned from my conference. I felt that perhaps this program would be useful in Malawi, but this is a subject that we often don’t think or talk about. I wasn’t sure. To implement such a program even on a small scale, would require a great deal of coordination and education. I decided to bounce the idea off MOCP’s primary female contact in Malawi, Yami Chikoti. Yami is a member of the Kanyenyeva Orphan Care Ministries (KOCM) Board and works directly with the villagers and village committee in the area of Kanyenyeva where MOCP has been working over the past 10 years.

Yami’s response was an overwhelming and enthusiastic “YES”!! The program would most definitely be welcomed!! Further discussions revealed the need for basic education about female anatomy and reproduction. We would also need to explain the basic usage of such things as panties and snaps! Could the local women be taught to sew additional liners? Would the required fabrics be available locally? How can we teach to sew products in a location without even a table to cut the fabric on? Would the treadle sewing machines even work?

DSC_0349After weeks of prayer, I felt that God was telling me to simply go forward. He would be with us guiding our steps. Details would work themselves out. Do not be afraid.

My fears were taken away and replaced with a reverent joy as I watched the women and girls eagerly learn about the program and immediately want to start right in making more liners! My husband and his engineering students from North Central State College quickly built us a table with dual purpose benches serving as the supports. My sister, Debby Bonte, came along and helped with the sewing instruction. Our initial kits were sewn as a combined effort of Days for Girls programs in Phoenix, AZ, Yellow Springs, Ohio, and members of the First English Lutheran Church in Mansfield, OH.

DSC_0172The girls and women were most definitely EMPOWERED!! It was both humbling and heart warming to watch and listen as they immediately joined together in a song and dance of thanksgiving! One of the village elders also spoke with the girls reminding them what a precious gift had just been given to them. She spoke about how she, and many others before her, went their entire lives without such an opportunity to live their lives every day of the month.

Yami has asked that MOCP try to continue and grow the program to include all of Malawi! KOCM will work with us to find local representatives to help educate the women and distribute the products. God has more plans for us!

If you would like to get involved, either by forming a local sewing group, or by donating funds to purchase items such as the panties and soap, or to help pay for transportation costs, please contact me directly. I am also looking into grant and vendor funding to assist us as we carry this project forward.

Please keep the women and girls in Malawi in your prayers!

Contact: Penny Ekegren, MOCP Secretary

53 Park Ave West, Mansfield, Ohio 44902


Cell phone: 419-631-7151

Liwiro la Malawi 5k Run/Walk 2016


The third annual Liwiro la Malawi is on Saturday, March 19 in downtown Mansfield, Ohio.

DSC_1063All of the awards come from Malawi! The necklaces and lanyards for the age award medals are made by widows and caretakers at the orphan project who started a business to make bracelets and expanded to include necklaces and lanyards. The medals are made by an artisan who lives near the orphan project.

The money raised from this 5K Run/Walk will help to improve the lives of orphans at the Kanyenyeva Orphan Care Ministry in Malawi, Africa.

Malawi is an extremely poor country of 15 million people. There are at least 1 million orphans in Malawi due primarily to HIV/AIDS and malaria. The physical growth of at least 50% of the children under the age of 5 has been stunted because of chronic malnutrition. It is estimated that 55% to 74% of its population live in extreme poverty. This is why Liwiro la Malawi (We run for Malawi).

For more information about this 5k go to R.F.M.

If you don’t live in Ohio and would like to support this 5k, you can donate through and we will send to you the goodie bag and race day t-shirt for any donation of $20 or more received by March 19, 2016.

Education, Chickens, and Shoes


Lebanon Lutheran School in Watertown, WI donated their offerings from their chapel service this past quarter to Malawi Orphan Care Project. The $1,950 they collected will be used for scholarships for high school aged orphans from Kanyenyeva Orphan Care Ministry. High school students for card

In Malawi, high school is not free so most orphans do not attend high school. The orphan project is able to send all high school aged orphans that are registered with the project to high school. This year there are 45 orphans attending high school!! This is the highest number since the beginning of the orphan project. At the orphan project, the leaders expect all of the children to attend school. With this expectation, more children are attending more regularly so each year more students are eligible to attend high school.



DSCN0026Earlier in February, we received enough donations for the chicken/egg business to be able to complete it!! Thank you to all who donated to help get this business started. Until they can have the electricity operational, they are using solar powered lights at the business.

The area to the far right of the building is for an office/home. It now has a door, windows and has been completed!

They have purchased 500 more chickens for a total of 1,000 chicken!! They expect to have everything operational in the coming weeks. We will share more pictures when we receive them.




027 smallerIf the fall of 2014, we held a shoe drive to raise money for the general operating expenses of the orphan project. Thanks to all the churches, businesses and individuals who donated and collected shoes, we raised $1,689.60!!!!