Miriam’s story: fighting back against a food crisis

Miriam Kalata is a mother and grandmother. She lives with her children and grandchildren in their home in Mzizimu, Nkhata Bay North District in northern Malawi. The death of her husband eight years ago means she is now the sole breadwinner.

The food crisis that has blighted Malawi since 2016 has seen families like Miriam’s struggle to grow enough food to survive, while her role as head of the household means it is difficult to earn enough income to purchase food and support her children through school.

As the challenges mounted over the past year, Miriam contacted Temwa. She then attended a community meeting in which committee members were selected to help oversee their partnership with Temwa. Through this committee involvement, Miriam has taken part in a number of initiatives that have alleviated her circumstances.

Miriam’s involvement in Temwa’s Nkhata Bay Natural Resources Initiative (NBNRI) has seen her become involved in forestry activities. She is helping to combat deforestation which is plaguing the area through educational sessions and improved management of resources. This will improve soil quality and help to grow more successful crops. In addition to that, Miriam took part in Temwa’s microfinance scheme which provides small loans of £80 to £200 to small businesses and entrepreneurs. This interest free loan has enabled Miriam to begin producing additional crops to sell, and buy fish from fisherman to sell on to retail.

As of July 2017, Miriam and her family are food secure for the next year; her house has been rebuilt, roofed with iron sheets and new furniture has been bought. As a result of her involvement with Temwa’s projects, her standard of living has increased significantly.

Miriam said: “I am very grateful for what Temwa has done for the area, my personal livelihood has improved. I urge supporters of Temwa to continue sponsoring, there are many other people here who need to be helped.”

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