Miriam Gondwe, a 53-year-old lady comes from Zuwayumo village in the area of traditional authority Chindi in Mzimba district. She is a mother of 5 and widowed. Life was not easy for her as a single mother as she had to fend for the family single-handed. The family could sleep on an empty stomach for days due to scarcity of food. A ray of hope shone on her path in 2015 when she was selected into Social Cash Transfer Program (SCTP) where she was receiving K5500.00 per month but this was not enough to meet her family’s daily needs.
In 2019, she was privileged again to be selected into the Pathways for Successful Transition (PAST) project, a government of Malawi’s intervention program supporting SCTP beneficiaries. She received 147,400 Kwacha, took 70,000 Kwacha to renovate her house which was in a bad state and she also bought three piglets amounting to 60,000 Kwacha. With the business management skills, she acquired through the program, Miriam was motivated to start a small-scale business of beer brewing. She can make sales of K15,000 on daily basis from the business and is now able to support her family without struggle. Furthermore, the project also equipped her with the knowledge of business management. Miss Gondwe also joined Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) where she saves and gets loans when necessary. She currently has over 36,000 Kwacha in her savings account. The program also enabled her to buy 2 bags of fertilizer in the past growing season and was able to produce 26 bags of maize a thing she could not afford in the previous years. When asked about how she sees herself now, Miriam narrated that “PAST project has changed my life by being an eye-opener and motivation because initially, I thought I had no capabilities of working for myself; I only waited for others to give me a hand but I sing a different song now”.
PAST project is a three-year program targeting SCTP beneficiaries in all the ten T/As found in Mzimba district to graduate them from ultra-poverty.