Today we wanted to sit down with Daudi, the amazing artisan we’re working with in Malawi, so he can tell you a bit more about himself, his family, and his business. Thanks to our local operations lead Anne-Marie for arranging the interview, and to Moses for helping translate. Please leave any other questions you have for Daudi in the comments, and we’ll update this post with his answers when we get the chance!
Full name: Daudi Maluwa
Family: 4 children and wife. Daudi is the sole provider (wife does not work).
Were you born in Lilongwe? I was born in Mangochi, and moved to Lilongwe in 2000 because that’s where all the jobs are.
What is your profession? I just make shoes. My income varies because most of my customers are locals but end of the month is the best time for me as everyone has just received their salary and want/need new shoes.
How long have you made shoes? I’ve been making shoes for 15 years. A friend in Lilongwe taught me.
How much do you spend on rent, clothes, food, electricity and water, school fees a month? On average my outgoings cost MK250,000 ($340) per month, but most of that is school fees as education isn’t free here. I have to buy books, pens, uniforms, lunches and even pay term fees so that my children can attend school.
How much do you approximately earn a month? On average I do earn approximately MK250,000 a month but some months can be tight. I never have any money to save so when an emergency happens (one of my children needs to go to hospital or I have to attend/pay for a funeral) I struggle to find the money.
Do you like Malawi? Why? Yes I do because it’s a peaceful country but I would love to visit South Africa. There are better job prospects when I can improve my skills which will hopefully lead to a better quality of life.
What message would you want to give the people who are buying your shoes back in the US? I’m very grateful for all your help. Buying my shoes and spreading the word will help my business and then help me and my family.