Changing lives

'Cursed' with long life

Dreams to reality

Inspiring hope

 

Steria is 90. She lives in Mpingu Central Malawi. Her one-room hut had no door. It was so small that her legs stuck outside when she slept. But her hard life became harder when the village labelled her a witch and shunned her. People feared that anyone living so long in a place where life expectancy is 60 years used witchcraft to survive and bring misfortune to others.

The church built her a better house and provided her and 100 other elderly people with blankets and provisions. The leaders called her relatives together and talked with them until they understood that what they were doing was wrong. Now they support and defend her and she can live in peace, enjoying long life.

 

In 2003, after Eagles’ training, a church in Ntcherenje Northern Malawi sprang into action with their community. They set up an under-five child care centre and gave practical support to orphans, the elderly and those with HIV. Ongoing training means they now have Village Savings and Loans groups helping 2,000 people. And in 2015, they developed a big vision: to be self-reliant, healthy and well-educated.

They worked hard and lobbied government and others for help. As a result, they have a new bridge for better trading, a second borehole, a new primary school classroom and funding for a secondary school – that brings electricity too! The village head woman, Mrs Mbughi, is delighted: "When you come again, you will be amazed. We are equipped with the knowhow we have always needed to develop.”

 

Martha (51) lived an isolated life with HIV, discriminated against by the community and debilitated by many illnesses. However, after Eagles helped the church leaders in Ulongwe Southern Malawi form a Social Action Committee to reach out to the community, Martha’s bleak situation was transformed.

Martha learned how to care for her health in her HIV support group. She no longer suffers from constant illness. Eagles helped Martha and other villagers set up a Savings and Loans scheme, adult literacy classes and business training. Now Martha has started her own small business, buying goods from Lake Malawi and selling these in her local area. She can now provide for her four orphaned grandchildren: “Being part of the Support Group has transformed my life. Now I can take care of my grandchildren.”