Witness was widowed some years ago. In her early 60’s, she had to endure the burden of taking care of 7 grandchildren because their parents (her two elderly children) trekked to South Africa in search of greener pastures. As such, she single-handedly took over the responsibility of looking after the grandchildren with little support from their biological parents in South Africa. Her adult children held only menial jobs and sending support back home is difficult due to legal constraints.
For years she struggled to take care of the children under her charge. “Providing food for all my grand-children was not an easy task. We used to eat one meal a day during lean periods, due to challenges of finding food for the family,” explained Witness. She could hardly produce enough food for the year. Sleeping on empty stomachs was part of life in their household. Children suffered adverse effects as they often went to school without food and at times, would find no food upon return. Life was painful. “I really struggled to provide for the family,” narrates Witness.
But the story for Witness has completely changed with the coming in of the THRIVE (Transforming House-hold Resilience in Vulnerable Environments) Project in the area. One segment for the THRIVE project is the promotion of village savings models for economic empowerment of vulnerable groups, especially women. Witness decided to join Chigwirizano Village savings group, comprised of 30 women. Through the group savings and loans, she is able to engage in various small-scale businesses. She now has money throughout the year. She is also able to buy farm supplies like fertilizer and seeds, to produce enough food for the family.
|Witness displaying some of the food she prepares using locally available resources
Witness is now a proud grandmother who can feed her family without any problem. Unique to their savings group, they also teach one another lessons on nutrition, with the aim of helping one another to use available food resources for improved nutrition. “One of my grandchildren is HIV+, but with good nutrition, his health is very well because I am able to properly utilize the locally available food, using the knowledge and skills we share on nutrition as a savings group,” said Witness. She is proud that she can now comfortably take care of her children through the gains she has achieved from the savings group. Their life as a family is changing for the better in many areas. She is now able to provide food and school supplies for the children. Witness says they now have meals three times a day, which was never the case before. “Life used to be difficult then, but now we are far better. I can proudly say, that through World Vision’s savings group model, my life and family have been changed,” explains the jovial Witness. “Thanks to World Vision for introducing such lessons in our community,” said Witness.