20 November, 2019

At eight years of age, Zira knows the pain of feeling hungry. And her mother knows the desperation of seeing her children starve and the shame of them being chased away from school. The family lives in a remove province in Zimbabwe and this is their story.

A Daughter’s Story:
My name is Zira* and I live in Bulawayo with my family. My brother and I were often hungry and I didn’t like being hungry. To get money for food, my father used to sell things in the city. And my mother used to go around town asking for mealie meal^ so she could make some food for us. But it wasn’t enough.

A Mother’s Story:
My name is Sibu, and I am Zira’s mother. Our family had barely anything to eat. There were no jobs and we were desperate. My husband would go around looking for piece jobs to get money for food. Once, my husband tried to find flowers to sell to people at the city hall. That’s how desperate he was and how we were living.

It was impossible to feed the family and pay for school. My children were frequently chased away from school. I watched my children’s future fall apart with very little that I could do. I wanted a better life, where my children could eat good food and have beautiful uniforms, so that people wouldn’t know the hardships of our family.

^Mealie meal is a relatively course flour made from maize.

Then One Day…

Zira says: My mother started to grow our own garden. She worked really hard every day to get the plants to grow. Soon there were enough vegetables to feed my whole family. She is now growing many vegetables of all different colours.

My mother is very good at selling her vegetables.

I like the garden because it brings us food on the table, it gives us money to buy bread and mealie meal and it even pays for our school fees. Before, my brother and I got chased away from school because we couldn’t pay for our school fees. But now we can go to school with new books, wearing new uniforms!

Sibu and her family

Sibu and her family

Sibu says: Then one day, we received training in growing vegetables and in marketing when ADRA came to our community.

I focused on marketing because I understood it so well. I later discovered that there were gaps in the supply of some vegetables at some periods. So I started my business by sourcing what the buyers wanted.

ADRA gave me a skill that is very useful in life. It made me realise the income I could get from tapping into farming activities. Even if I cannot grow everything by myself, I have found some gaps in the market that are now earning me a living. My life has improved greatly as I now have a reliable source of income. I am happy that my family is no longer sleeping on an empty stomach.

This change in my life means so much to me because education is very important for my children’s future. It was education that brought change in our own home through the training we received.

What ADRA gave me is worth much more than just a one-off food hamper. Knowledge is power and no-one can take that away from me now.”

This Christmas, you can help feed other children like Zira by enabling their parents to earn a living.
Visit adra.org.au/christmas

*Stories about people are real, but sometimes names are changed to protect their privacy

Tags:  Blog, Livelihoods,