Malawi wood shop teaches trade to reduce poverty

My name is Andy Atkins and I am a fellow woodworker living near Denver Colorado.  I am helping my new friend Shem, who lives in Malawi, achieve his goals. 

Woodworking shop in Malawi helps community members learn a trade and avoid poverty, but in order to grow, needs additional electric tools.  The owner, Shem, has already trained 80 men and women over the years and currently has a crew of eight apprentices.     
My new friend Shem in Malawi needs our help. He started a very basic woodworking shop called “SHEM furniture and joinery.”  With the limited tools that he has, he and eight male and female students build office and home furniture. He helps pay their tuition and teaches them the craft. As mentioned, he has trained over 80 students who did not get into college due to their lack of fundamental math and language skills.  Many of these young men and women have been through trauma, but they now have a purpose and a profession. Early marriages and child labor are very common, but Shem hopes to help them overcome poverty by teaching them this trade.       
Shem and his apprentices operate out of a primitive shack as pictured.  The small business makes approximately $300 per month after the bills, but could increase its production dramatically with additional electric machines.      
His goal is to train even more youth to provide them with the technical skills needed to be productive members of society and speed up production by obtaining more electric/modern equipment run by their one 120 volt outlet.  
He would love to obtain a small 120 volt jointer, planer, benchtop mortiser, a few cabinet makers front vices for their make shift workbenches, a table saw, and appropriate hand planers, chisels and sharpening supplies etc.      

As soon as he can pay his own bills and pay his employees a suitable wage, he would love to make furniture to donate to schools and hospitals in his local area.
Wouldn’t it be great to pool our resources to help Shem achieve his goals?  When I personally saw the furniture that his shop was turning out combined with his passion for helping those less fortunate through his apprentice program, I realized that I needed to help. I reached out to him and we started a lengthy chain of messages discussing the things mentioned above.  He never once asked for help, but when I offered some assistance, he humbly accepted. 
SHEM furniture and joinery is located along limbe - Muloza M2 Road at Chitakale trading centre in Mulanje.  It is a boarder district to Mozambique in the Southern part of Malawi, 70 kms away from Blantyre, a commercial city.
If you are interested in donating to this great cause, you can either donate here on GoFundMe or contact Shem directly.
Shem Viston Taombe
Box 94 Mulanje - Malawi
Cell : +265 881 276 628
email : [email redacted]
  • Chuck Cheesman 
    • $50 
    • 15 mos
  • David Roberts 
    • $100 
    • 15 mos
  • Haroldl Brainerd 
    • $20 
    • 15 mos
  • Jason East 
    • $100 
    • 16 mos
  • Jason East 
    • $100 
    • 16 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Shem Taombe 
Schenectady, NY
Andrew Atkins 
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