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Fred is a Tinsmith

Wikipedia defines the term tinsmith as, a person who makes and repairs things made of tin or other light metals. By extension it can also refer to the person who deals in tin ware, or tin plate. Tinsmith was a common occupation in pre-industrial times.”


While the trade has mostly disappeared in western nations, it continues to strive in sub-Saharan Africa where the use of tin buckets is widespread and very important to daily life. The use of tin buckets for cooking, bathing, and the transportation of water are an integral part of life, and the local tinsmith and his art of fabricating and repairing these utensils are critical to the village.


Fredrick Mbaluku is a 58-year-old professional tinsmith. He is a father of five and comes from Mwankhuku Village, near the Ntchisi Trading Center.


Despite having a skill that could earn him a good living, he was only selling his products at a shop outside his home in the village. The trading center where large numbers of people offered unimaginable potential, was out of reach because of his inability to walk. But he did not lose hope and was always determined to work and provide for his family.


Then came Wilson Tembo, representing the Malawi Project and Action for Progress with a brand-new mobility unit manufactured at Mobility Ministries in Demotte, Indiana. When presented with this means of getting out and reaching the trading center Fredrick said with a smile, “Now I will be going out to sell my tins to other places.”


Fredrick is another example of someone who went from dependence to independence with the help of a mobility unit. His is just one of the 1,000 we’ve shipped to Malawi so far, we want to help all the people in Malawi create an independent future for themselves.



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