Contagious life-change

Pastor Pilingu has transformed the lives of many his community. Challenged by studying ‘God’s heart for the poor’ in Bible college, a module taught by Eagles, he requested further training from them. Now, he has set up village savings and loans groups, encouraged the village to plant trees and farm in a way that is more resilient to climate change, and ensured that orphans and the elderly are cared for by the community. The church has helped the grandchildren of 80 of the most vulnerable elderly people with businesses to allow them to care for their grandparents, and directly provide for a further 30. Even with 5 children of his own, he constantly seeks new ways to serve those around him.

"If any pastor takes [the Bible’s words about social justice] seriously and shares it with his church, it will not be long until there is no one poor left there."

He inspires his own church with his vision through weekly bible studies, and trains other pastors about their social responsibility.

His transformation over-spills onto those around him. Thanks to his intervention and care , helped by his church, Blessings, one of the orphans that they supported to return to school and through a catering course, now works at a large hotel and pays his younger brother’s school fees. Frank, another orphan who was living with his elderly grandfather in terrible poverty when the pastor first met him, having failed his year 8 exams and started keeping bad company, is now a pastor of his own church, thanks to Pastor Pilingu’s mentorship and support . Frank’s church already looks after 25 elderly people who cannot care for themselves and 10 orphans.

"Because I grew up as an orphan, I know how painful it is. I want to teach the church to help the weak. I want to prevent others from going through my pain and to show them that God really cares."

Self-reliance through community

"I could not afford things on my own, so I decided to join hands with my fellow women! I am so grateful to Eagles for this group that has enabled us to be self-reliant! I am excited - now I can provide for my 6 children!"

These words from the Chief of Silika village (pictured above) are a testament to the power of a group of determined women. They are building a better future for their families through the self-help group that they set up after Eagles began working in their village.

The women in the self-help group meet together to save money so that they can take out loans for businesses. This not only enables them to provide for their families, but has also changed the way in which they are seen within the community. They are now held in greater respect, earning money independently rather than just keeping house.

Another member, Trifonia Dules, said that without the group, she would never have had the money to set up her own business. But with her loan, she began selling fish and managed to save enough to buy a goat! She used to struggle to meet even the basic needs of her children but now her worries are over She plans to expand her business, and to build a better house for them all.

“Life is now simple. I am not struggling any more to provide for my family.”

Nation-changing fertiliser

One training session equipped 2 trainers who enabled 1500 farmers to feed their families. And they are not finished!

Food security is probably the greatest issue affecting communities across Malawi. People need to grow enough food to feed their families, and have enough left over to sell to pay for their children to attend school, or for medical care. Thousands in Malawi go hungry every year. Malnutrition is the single biggest contributor to child death, according to UNICEF, and 46% of children under 5 in Malawi have stunted growth.

The issue: Reaping a good harvest from land that has been nutritionally depleted by generations of farmers is almost impossible. Fertiliser is vital, but in Malawi costs K22,500 per 50kg (roughly £22). This may not seem much, but to a subsistence farmer, it can be an impossible amount to raise.

The solution: Eagles trained two people from a village to add animal manure, maize husks, ashes and urine to 5kg of fertiliser, turning it into 50kg that can be spread on the land after just a few weeks! Immediately, they trained others from neighbouring villages and over 150 farmers’ clubs of 10 each were formed, equipped, and are now seeing exciting results. The trainers are not finished yet and continue in other villages. Malitida, newly-trained, says:

"I was very excited when I heard about the training. If you have food, your other problems are small. If we don’t have to buy the expensive fertiliser, we will be able to feed our families. With this fertiliser, we will be able to change our community and even our nation."

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