Gundani Chenjani of Songwe Village TA Mabuka in Mulanje District has managed to transform his life from abject poverty. He is one of the beneficiaries of the Social Cash Transfer Programme (SCTP) also known as Mtukula Pakhomo from Naphini cluster who has managed to transform his life by quadrupling his earnings from two thousand kwacha a day. He has also managed to move his family from a grass thatched house to one with iron-sheets. Chenjani is proud to say that he is now able to provide for his family.
Chenjani is one of the members of the Naphini Village Cluster who have improved their lives by growing tea and pineapples with the money they receive though the SCTP.
The group started by saving money that they receive under SCTP through a village savings bank popularly known as Bank Mkhonde. Through the savings bank, the members were giving each other loans payable with an interest. After saving enough money, the group asked their village headman to give them a piece of land to farm tea and pineapples which was given. The group grows tea and pineapples which they sell and thus are able to sustain their living.
When the Secretary for Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Esmie Kainja visited the area, the group wasted no time taking her around their farm and showing her their produce.
Kainja said that she was very impressed with the visit because she has witnessed for herself the positive impact of the SCTP on the beneficiaries. She said that the activities in the area show that it is not a drain but an investment. She further applauded the chief of the area for being committed to improving the livelihood of people that are under him by giving them land. Kainja then informed the members that the government plans to increase the number of people under the project and also increase transfer levels.
“What we have seen in here Mulanje is very amazing, very impressive. The Men and women are able to grow tea, process it and sell it to a nearby tea estate. Some are able to grow pineapples in large volumes and sell it to a nearby town,” she said.
For Chenjani, flipping on the scarce opportunities available gave him tremendous rewards. He decided to work hard and save money being aware that if the SCTP fades, he will have no means of support. This has meant a better life for him and his family. He is now able to buy food for the family and pay for his children’s school fees.
“We used to sleep on empty stomachs with my 7 children because we didn’t have money to buy food. But being a SCTP beneficiary has significantly transformed my life. I am able to buy food for my children, pay their school fees and buy them new clothes” said Chenjaniwith a radiant smile.
“ I made the decision to participate in investing money as a group through tea growing because I had to sustain my family and ensure that my children attain education” Chenjani remarked.
SCTP has significantly transformed the lives of people like Chenjani. Struggling to provide for their families has become a thing of the past, as they now make more kwachas on a daily basis than never before. Such a growth trajectory shows no sign of hitting the rock bottom or an un-forecasted financial volatility any time soon.
When more SCTP beneficiaries follow the footsteps of Chenjani and invest the money they receive, they too can reap the rewards of investing the little money they receive and reproduce it, afford to sustain their families and live happy lives, the Governments development agenda will be utilised.