Spotlight on Extraordinary Women - Esther Sithawika from Yamba Malawi
Esther lives with her husband and three children in a small mud hut with a thatch roof. Before being enrolled in Yamba Malawi’s child-focused poverty graduation program, the family’s only income came from small jobs around their community. They tended a small garden on rented land to grow food, and erratic rains frequently devastated her crops. “There is never enough. We can never find enough money to rent the right amount of land. We can only grow enough to feed ourselves for two or three months. It was our biggest problem.” As a result, Esther and her family struggled to get by: “One time, there was literally nothing. Not a penny. No food. As a mother, I knew I had to do something. I went to the chief, but he could do nothing. I asked my neighbour, and they gave me a little side work. I was able to get maize for a day. I did not eat that day, nor did my husband. We wanted to make sure the children had enough.”
Esther, a mother enrolled in Yamba Malawi's Childhoods & Livelihoods Program. Her beekeeping business is helping her break the cycle of poverty and invest in her children.
Fortunately, thanks to Esther’s hard work in Yamba Malawi’s program, everything is changing for the family. Within the program, Esther has not only learned how to launch her own beekeeping business, but also how to save and reinvest her profits in a way that directly benefits her children in both the short- and long terms. “I had a vision after learning I was chosen to participate. I learned how to care for my hives,” she describes. “Now, my life will change. My children will have food. They will go to school. They won’t have any problems.”
The impact Esther is having on her children’s lives is transformative. The children are eating healthier food, are back in school, and the family is working to grow and diversify their businesses so they can continue on their pathway out of poverty. “I am the happiest person now, because of this program,” Esther says. “I can now see that my children will be educated and independent.”