It’s early evening and Lutiya is preparing a snack of roasted maize for her children. They’ll be home from school anytime now. Lutiya has plenty of maize to go around, and there’s a good reason why...
Together with her husband and four children, Lutiya lives in a village in Salima district, Malawi. She is living a life she never imagined possible. It’s thanks – in part – to farming training she received through her church, a Tearfund partner. “[Before] we had no ambition and we just lived life,” recounts Lutiya. “When we harvested, we would only get five bags of maize. As a result, my husband and I did casual labour to look for ways to feed our family. We had lost hope because life here is very hard.”
Their children’s education was affected, and the family faced financial penalties for not paying school fees on time. “It meant they would miss classes. We did not even have money to buy a pen, let alone regularly pay school fees,” Lutiya shares. They continued to live like this, struggling to make ends meet. Then, a life-changing opportunity came through their Pastor.
Pastor Chitekwele was one of several pastors who took part in a Tearfund-funded program alongside our local partner, Assemblies of God Care (AG Care). The Church and Community Transformation (CCT) approach combines practical training with empowering communities to discover the resources and skills they already have. Through this, they find new ways to help themselves get out of poverty.
When Lutiya heard Pastor Chitekwele sharing about CCT, she felt empowered to form a group with 25 members of her community. They started keeping goats and chickens to rear.
At the same time, Lutiya decided to put more effort into her farming. The results were infinitely greater than she could have imagined.
“Despite the dismal harvests that we used to get, I decided to put in effort and, as a result, on my first harvest I was able to get 36 bags of maize and 15kg of rice,”’ says Lutiya. “This not only fed us, but we were able to sell and make some money which I used to buy some more goats and chickens. We were also able to build a better house for our family. We are now able to start paying school fees regularly and our children are able to attend classes.”
Lutiya is grateful for the opportunity to lift herself and her family out of poverty: “We are thankful to AG Care and Tearfund who, with the teachings they brought to us through Pastor Chitekwele, have transformed our lives.”
When female farmers like Lutiya have access to training and tools, they can lift their families out of hunger and poverty. Invest in women today so they can transform their communities.
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