It is an undeniable fact that unemployment has adversely impacted on lives of most people across the world. In other countries, failure [by governments] to create jobs for its citizens becomes a very contentious political matter with ministers responsible being forced to resign.
This, however, is not the case in here because Malawians are largely a persevering lot.
Government itself has admitted on several occasions that citizens are barely surviving albeit daring to deal with the biting poverty without external assistance.
Experts say poor families and the youth are the worst hit by abject poverty because they do not have resources or expertise to enable them create wealth on their own.
However, this is not the case with Godfrey Masauli who has successfully devised survival mechanisms through paragliding.
Masauli, a nephew to Stanley Masauli—the first Malawian to fly and own a plane—says paragliding is a recreational and competitive adventure sport of flying paragliders: lightweight, free-flying, foot-launched glider aircraft with no rigid primary structure.
As a social entrepreneur, he has for the past two years been using this sport to inspire learners in different schools within and outside the country.
He has also been building kites from recycled materials such as newspapers and plastic bags, which he calls ‘dream kites’.
“The pilot sits in a harness suspended below a fabric wing consisting of a large number of interconnected and baffled cells. Wing shape is maintained by its suspension lines, the pressure of air entering vents in the front of the wing and the aerodynamic forces of the air flowing
over the outside,” he explains.
Despite not using an engine, paraglider flights can last many hours and cover many hundreds of kilometres though flights of one to two hours and covering some tens of kilometres.
Paragliders are unique among soaring aircraft in being easily portable. The complete equipment packs into a rucksack and can be carried easily on the pilot’s back, in a car, or on public transport.
In comparison with other air sport, this substantially simplifies travel to a suitable takeoff spot, the selection of a landing place and return travel.
Masauli is, however, quick to state that this sport is new in Malawi. But he urges fellow youths to exploit the sport to fight poverty.
“Government can also explore this sport to promote tourism. There are many countries out there, which have exploited paragliding to promote tourism and it has worked wonders,” says the young man.
And after touring the United States of America (USA) where he gave motivational talks to the primary, secondary and university students, Masauli is set to establish a paragliding school, which will double as a community centre.
The paraglider states that the community centre will focus on building self-confidence in children as well as adults.
“The school will be called School of Dreams because it is a result of the dream I had while I was still young. I’m currently raising funds for the construction of a paragliding school at a location yet to be identified.
“It will be a place where motivational talks, dream talks and career talks will be conducted to students and it will be funded by the income generated from training Malawians and foreigners to fly paragliders as well as doing tandem flights,” explains Masauli.
He emphasises that Malawi has a huge potential for the sport because of her beautiful mountains.
The sport has since been officially recognised by the Malawi National Sports Council, according to him.