Discussing death and funerals continues to be a taboo for many people in Malawi and other countries according to latest research from the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA).
Despite the fact filling loved ones in on your funeral wishes can potentially save them a lot of stress and worry when the time comes, less than half of us have told family and friends what sort of send off we would like.
Takaaful Cooperative Society Limited, a first of its kind initiative in Malawi offering funeral assistance services at very affordable contributions, is urging Malawians to become members so that they are safe when funerals strike.
Chilungamo: Malawians will benefit from this cooperative
Funerals are among some of those sudden occurrences that heavily drain the pocket considering that the devastated bereaved, especially here in Malawi, must shoulder burial costs for their loved one and feed a battalion of starving funeral congregants.
Some people have even ended up accummulating huge debts to foot all these expenses.
With litte monthly contributions of 1000 kwacha or 2000 for a year as members of Takaaful Cooperative Society Limited, many Malawians can now breathe a sigh of relief.
“The 1000 kwacha contribution covers the member and his or her two dependants while 2000 covers the member, his or her spouse and four dependants,” Adil Chilungo, Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the cooperative explained in an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times.
Continued Chilungo, “In the event that the member dies, he or she is entitled to 100 000 kwacha. If it is the member’s spouse who dies, the member collects 80 000. If it is the death of any of the member’s dependants, he or she gets 45 000”.
“Payment is made instantly using accessible and easy to use money transaction systems,” he added.
Chilungo said the cooperative encourages members to form residential or workplace committees to undertake what he described as formal and fast procedures of claiming the money once death has occurred.
According to Chilungo, Takaaful Cooperative Society Limited was established to bail out a grief stricken Malawian faced with a highly demanding funeral, an unplanned occurrence.
He said it pains him to see some people getting loans with high interests rates just to finance a funeral.
“I thought this initiative would help us solve these problems by simply making small contributions without considering whether one is rich or poor or where they are in Malawi. The aim of the cooperative is to promote a culture of togetherness, promote a spirit of sharing and of coming to each other’s rescue when in trouble”.
Added Chilungo: “Unlike conventional insurance companies that charge expensive premiums, these little contributions are ideal for us because, after all, we are just a cooperative”.
In the seven months it has existed, Takaaful Cooperative Society Limited has managed to amass 1000 members, accumulating the monthly contributions to millions of kwacha.
Six members have died so far and according to Chilungo, their 100 000 kwacha entitlement were dully and successfully remitted.
The cooperative has even attracted the attention of the government of Malawi.
A letter dated 30 November from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) approves the cooperative to allow civil servants access its services.
Chilungo hopes to recruit one million more members.
He said the cooperative’s potential targeted members include both rural and urban dwellers and even Members of Parliament and the corporate sector.
“We intend to use the surplus money to empower our members with non interest and manageable loans that would enable them achieve their lifetime goals and acquire their dream property,” Chilungo concluded.
As one of the benefits, Takaful has already issued non interest fertlizer loans in the last planting season to members in some parts of Machinga including Mposa, Nselema, Mbele and TA Mlomba just to mention a few.