From Poverty to Independence: Yohane's Story


Yohane makes benches out of . . . oil drums! And it’s thanks to you and COTN’s Business Connections program.


A bench made out of an oil drum

These benches made out of oil drums show off Yohane’s welding skills and his creativity.


At COTN–Malawi, Business Connections is a program that gives young people the tools they need to become business owners, including vocational training, business management, and small loans. Yohane is one of over 20 Business Connections graduates now starting businesses in Malawi.


Young Yohane

                                Before COTN, Yohane had to work instead of going to school.


When Yohane was a boy, he had to stop attending school because his family couldn’t afford it. His parents divorced, and Yohane had to start working at a young age to help his mother feed the family. When he came to COTN, he didn’t have to worry about how he was going to eat, so he could attend school once again.


Thanks to the generous support of caring partners like you, COTN helped Yohane grow up physically and spiritually healthy. As he got older, he started making plans for life after COTN.


Yohane welding

Business Connections teaches young adults like Yohane valuable skills that can become careers.


Yohane grew up wanting to be a mechanic, even snagging an internship with a car repair company. When he entered Business Connections, he started training in welding and metalwork.


“I see [Business Connections] as a second chance to life and a connection to a new life altogether,” Yohane says. “I also thought that it will be a way that I will perfect what I love and also train others who are passionate in welding and fabrication.”


Now Yohane is able to support his family with his work, and he knows Business Connections has been the bridge to his new life of financial security.



         Yohane has a secure job thanks to your gifts to the Business Connections program.


“Business Connections has helped me sustain myself and my family,” he says. “It has also given me a good reason to keep busy and stay out of trouble. [I’m] sure if I was still with my peers I would have been drinking, but now I stay in my workshop and design new things, take orders from people, and make money.”


And Yohane isn’t the only one from Business Connections who’s doing great things.


Yakakami's peanut butter crank

Groundnuts, or peanuts, are very popular in Malawi. Yamikakani’s business is turning these groundnuts into tasty peanut butter!


Yamikakani used his loan to purchase a hand crank to make peanut butter out of groundnuts.


Ernest selling fish

Ernest sells fish. He uses the profits to take care of his parents and send his brother to school.


Ernest started a business selling fish. The profits allowed Ernest to repay his loan, feed his family, and send his younger brother to school! He plans to expand his business by becoming a distributor of fish in the capital city and, someday, all over Malawi.



“Business Connections is a bridge to a new life [I] could only imagine,” Malaki says.


Malaki runs a tea shop and repaid his loan in full! He was able to purchase corrugated iron sheets to improve his home. He has dreams of running a big business in the food industry someday.


Your gifts to COTN are helping these young people and others start businesses and become the future leaders of their country!