Grace Sibande is a widow from Chaliwa Nkhata village at Traditional Authority (T/A) Kampingo Sibande in Mzimba district, Malawi. The woman has three children, one female and two males. The woman is one of the beneficiaries from Social Cash Transfer program who is also on PAST project.
Being a widow, life was very challenging with Grace as she expressed “ It was very hard for me to get food for my family that most of the days we were sleeping on an empty stomach, my children were going to school without uniform and without eating anything in the morning, when they come back home from school they were finding nothing to eat while I have gone to other people’s fields to do piece works in order for me to be given food. I was also unable to buy clothes for the children due to lack of money. I was much tortured by the community members because of my poverty calling me “wa manjalende”.
Things started to change for the better with the life of Grace when PAST project came in 2019 with interventions which aim at helping the ultra-poor to graduate into a resilient livelihood “When Mbiriwiza community theater group members started to teach us about investing the money in businesses, nutrition WASH, my mind began to open up, I was encouraged a lot that I started to invest my K7, 200.00 I receive from social cash transfer into a business of selling tomatoes. From the business, I started to realize profits that were enabling me to buy food and school resources for my children”.
She was even more excited when she received K100, 000.00 from PAST project as her seed capital “I used K80, 000.00 to buy four bags of fertilizer which I have applied in my maize field. I am very sure hunger will be story of the past in my family from this because the maize plants are doing well. Some of the money remain I bought one goat, one pig and two chickens which I have started to raise and I am very sure I will realize a lot of money after selling. My business of selling tomatoes is still going on.
Grace is appreciating the works of PAST project as she says she now foresees her torment turning into success after looking at the maize field she has which she has never had before.