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“Our family has really moved from minus to plus”

Daughters, Pokani and Miness.

The family lives in Mteyo Ngoma Village, in the Manyamula area of northern Malawi, and had been trading in little tomatoes and onions in a small basket. They could not get enough income to support the children in school or even to get enough food for the family.

One of the daughters, Miness, suffered from time to time from brain loss and seizures and the family was on the move to get medical attention for the girl. Often they could not get medical help because of lack of income. I, the Coordinator, have sometimes gone to the family to see the challenge for myself.

A Family with Needs and Opportunities

After using the Poverty Assessment Tool, this family was chosen for the Small Business Fund grant because of the insecurity in income and lack of family support. The family could not support Miness medically nor support the other children in school. The family could not be food-secure for the whole year and this led to malnutrition in the younger family members.

Hastings selling tomatoes in the Manyamula market place

Then conducting an Opportunity Assessment of the family, I discovered that both Hastings and Ruth have good marketing skills and are hard-working on their small-scale tomato sales. I saw some un-tapped potential, which, if supported, could help them towards a better life.

When the family group was chosen for the $150 grant and trained in business management, the funds went to expand their tomato and onion trading. Before, they could order only a small basket of tomatoes, but with the first grant bought 5 to 6 baskets of tomatoes!

Happy Faces and School Uniforms

The family has also bought a bicycle to support transportation of their trade.

The family, which used to suffer food insecurity and low income, is all smiles at the moment because of the great impact of the grant. The successful business helped them buy school uniforms so that Miness and Pokani can attend school. They are also now able to afford medication for Miness to control her health problems.

Whenever I go to visit the family to encourage and provide more technical support, I see happy faces and I see that their situation is completely changed. The children also sing with joy in their hearts as the parents have provided for their school uniforms. Hastings says very soon the family will own their own house, and be able to move out of the home of their relatives.

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