Grace Sibande is a widow from Chaliwa Nkhata village in the area of Traditional Authority Kampingo Sibande in Mzimba district. Grace is a widow shouldering the responsibility of looking after her three children. The woman is one of the beneficiaries of the Social Cash Transfer program which qualified her to benefit from the Pathways for Successful Transition (PAST) project.

Being a widow, Grace encountered various challenges in her life before the PAST project.

“It was very hard for me to get food for my family. My children were going to school without a uniform. They were going to school without eating and mostly were not finding food after knocking off from school. It was also difficult for me to buy clothes for the children. Some members of the community members were torturing me by calling me all sorts of names such as wamanjalende,” she explained.

Things started to change for the better in Grace’s life with the coming in of the PAST project in 2019. PAST project interventions are aimed at helping ultra-poor households to graduate into a resilient livelihood. This change was championed by Mbiriwiza Community Theatre Group (CTG) which was trained by Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM).

“Members of Mbiriwiza CTG coached and mentored me in topics focusing on money investment, businesses management, nutrition, WASH, and mindset change. These messages encouraged me to start investing in my SCTP and saving at the Village Savings and Loans (VSLs). After receiving seed capital amounting to 147, 600 Kwacha I invested 80, 000 Kwacha towards agriculture by purchasing farm inputs such as four bags of fertilizer and seeds that were used in my maize field. Hunger will be history at my household this year as I have harvested 32 bags of maize. The remaining 67000 Kwacha was invested towards purchasing three goats, one pig, and two chickens. This livestock will help me to realize a lot of money after selling and be able to support my children’s education,” she narrated.

Grace is appreciating PAST project interventions as she can trace changes in her households. Grace’s transitioning from extreme poverty to decent wellbeing is a testimony behind the importance of SBCC and core financial literacy messages that are being instilled to beneficiaries by CRECCOM and Save the children with the financial and technical support from the government of Malawi through Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprises (FARMSE).

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