Maureen is 3 years old. She lives in Makwale Village, in Karonga district, located in the northern part of Malawi. The road to her village is bumpy and dusty, and the nearest large settlement is about 60 kilometers away. Makwale Village is surrounded by 5 other villages, and all of the preschool aged children learn together at the nearby Community Based Care Center.
Most of the village residents are farmers and fishermen. Dina, Maureen’s mother, told us that during the previous year, the village was barely able to harvest enough food to last them throughout the year, because they were not able to earn enough income for fertilizer. During this time, her family could only afford to eat one meal per day.
When Maureen was a year and a half old, she was malnourished as a result of this constant poverty. She was sick every week. Dina was afraid that her daughter was dying and walked to the hospital every day to collect a special nutritional formula for her.
When the Tiwalere II project came to Makwale Village, Feed the Children introduced 20 village members to the Savings and Loan Program. Through this program, group members were trained in how to save money, manage finances, and earn interest. The Tiwalere II project also provided training in modern farming techniques, making it possible for farmers to increase their crop yield.
Dina was a part of the Village Savings and Loan program, and as a result, her family is thriving. They now raise goats and chickens, and Dina is extending their fields to make more money next year. Dina’s family is even able to support relatives with their surplus food.
Life in Makwale Village is improving. Over 100 children are now enrolled in the Community Based Care Center. Maureen is growing strong and healthy. She is learning to read picture books along with her peers. Maureen told us that she loves eating rice with chicken every Sunday – a complete change from a year and a half ago, when she was suffering the pangs of malnutrition. Because of Feed the Children’s involvement with Tiwalere II, and because of her mother’s involvement with the Village Savings and Loan program, Maureen has a happy, healthy childhood ahead.