In Malawi, a Christian group,
Torch Trust International, is trying to help rehabilitate blind beggars and
return them to their homes. Torch Trust launched a
program to help blind beggars in the cities after researching their reasons for
Chidzam'mbuyo is the national coordinator of Torch Trust
International in Malawi. He says, "When
we chatted with them we found that they are compelled to live in [towns
begging], not because they enjoy it but they said because they don't have any
help there in the village. Even when there are things to be distributed to poor
people, chiefs do not consider them much. Things like free fertilizer and the
like when there are floods. So they said even if they go to the village there
is no help there."
Chidzam'mbuyo says the organization is
building houses for the returnees in their home villages, and providing them
with basic items like
soap, sugar and clothes. They are also given some training and
capital to start a small-scale business.
He says, "This program is
somehow successful. Not less than 300 visually impaired people were
rehabilitated. Those who are there are now independent and rely on themselves
since most of them have been to blind schools and know how to cultivate. They
can manage a garden and raise poultry."
But he says the effort does face some
problems, "The challenge is to keep them there. Some of them have returned to
Blantyre. We try to make them return but you know some of these brothers and
sisters think that begging is their right and that begging is their main source
of income. [Therefore] the major challenge is how to convince them to stop
He says despite the fact that it's a
Christian organization, Torch Trust International is not linked to any
He says the beneficiaries are encouraged to be spiritual either by attending
religious fellowships conducted by the organization or by joining religious
denominations of their choice.
says the Torch Trust has a similar program in Mozambique. It may expand the program to other countries
if funds are available.