Martha Chirwa is a 49 years old widow who comes Magwaza village, Traditional Authority Mthwalo in Mzimba district.  Martha’s husband died in 2008 and has been living with her 4 children since then without any other support from anybody. Life became so tough as she was used to receiving from her husband who was working on her behalf. The business the husband left started going down because she did not know how to make calculations and account for the business. She said, “my business deteriorated for I was unaware of how to account for the business; that’s why I was excited of squandering any money that got to my pocket.” After the business ended, her life and that of her 4 children became messed up. She reached the extent of going out to ask for salt to apply to her pumpkin leaves’ relish. Her children stopped going to school because they had no support in terms of school fees, soap, clothes, food, and other items.

However, Save the Children in conjunction with Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM) came up with a brainchild that was meant to rescue people from a chronic types of poverty and make them financially independent. The two organizations came up with an initiative that is called, Pathways for Successful Transition project (PAST) with the financial assistance coming from Financial Access for Rural Markets Smallholders and Enterprises (FARMSE). Most of the beneficiaries that were selected to benefit from the initiative have already started receiving the seed capital money that is being given by the project. Martha is one of these people.

After Martha received K147600, she went back to her business plan and decided to follow it; she planned to invest in the grocery shop and she did it. The profits from the shop were used to buy fertilisers and grew a lot of maize. She also bought and grew groundnuts from whose profits she has managed to buy 20 bags of cement and is now flooring her house which she built with her late husband some years back. Martha is also rearing pigs, goats as well as chickens; all these are from the proceedings she is getting from her shop which was started through PAST project seed capital money.

Martha’s life has changed to the better because she is never going out to beg for salt anymore, but she is the one being begged; she is managing to pay for the school fees of her 2 children who are a secondary level; her eating habits have changed, she is able to eat three times a day with good diet; she is now able to give her children some pocket money to use at school. “I am now focusing on sourcing a lot of money to build houses for rent as a way of saving money because currently I don’t have much to worry and I don’t consider widowhood as a barrier to doing well,” says Martha as she smiles. Martha’s home has become a habitat to rest where you can find goats, chickens and pigs in abundance. All these are following Martha because of her seriousness in investing the little she got from PAST project.

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