On a bright day in Mwachilwana village, Chibombo District, about 100 km from Lusaka, Mary Nyimba emerges from a small, two-room clay house where she lives with her four children.
Armed with a spade, a bucket and a few sacks, Mary is heading to the stone mines, a few meters away from her home.
Like many who are trapped in poverty, Mary’s life has never been easy, she fights for survival everyday by crushing stones to meet the basic needs for her family.
“Every day I dig out large pieces of stones using a hammer and crush them into small pieces. After that I carry the stones out of the mines and display them on the roadside for sale,” Mary says
The story of Mary is just a tip of the iceberg. More community members have similar challenges in meeting the nutritional, health and educational needs of their children.
Upon seeing the need, DAPP Zambia through the ZAMFAM project responded by providing training on financial literacy and business management training to community members in Mary’s village.
With the skills acquired from the trainings, the community started a village savings club. Mary was privileged to be among other community members who were trained by DAPP Zambia. She also became a member of the savings group.
“Through the savings groups, I received training on how to start and grow a business. The programme, enabled me to get a loan of about ZWM 1,200,” she says.
She adds “I used the money I borrowed to start a poultry business. My business grew very well and I was able to pay back the loan on time. I am now able to buy 100 chicks and later sell them at K50 each.”
Mary also benefited from the gift pass on system designed to improve nutrition for families. She received a variety of legumes, sweet potatoes and cassava. From the 3Kgs of cowpeas received, she managed to harvest 30 kg of which 9kg was paid back as a requirement. She happily says that the nutrition for the family has significantly improved and that she has managed to preserve 5kgs for the coming 2017/2018 farming season.
“My children now eat balanced meals and we do pay school fees for them at a nearby primary school. Through the saving I have been able to draft a plan on how to generate income and address my families long – term goals.”