Jen's story

Jen's story

Planting seeds to a brighter future for her children
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My heart longs to see our children finish school.

– Jen

Jen, a loving mum in Malawi, dreams of her children being able to have the education they deserve.

Jen is helping her family to begin to achieve great things. But she is still struggling and faces a terrible dilemma.

Jen works hard to provide for her children. But she can barely scratch a living from the soil. Soaring costs of food, fuel, fertiliser, school uniforms and school fees are crushing dreams and keeping her family in poverty.

A terrible dilemma

Her hard-working boys have earned places at top colleges, which is very rare for young people from her rural area. One has a place at a prestigious polytechnic and one at a well-known college – it’s even on one of Malawi’s banknotes.

Jen’s dilemma – she cannot afford to send them both to continue their education. ‘My heart longs to see our children finish school,’ says Jen. ‘These dreams are very important to me, because by doing so, I’ll be sure that I am creating a good future for the children.'

Now, Jen has had to make a choice. One no mum should be forced to make. Rising costs mean Jen can pay for only one of her sons’ college courses.

Crops with amazing potential

Working with our partners in Malawi, Nandolo Farmers Association, Christian Aid empowers vulnerable communities to find practical and sustainable ways out of poverty. In Jen’s case: to grow crops that are more resilient to the climate crisis.

Jen and her husband have two acres of pigeon peas. But they are struggling with the effects of the climate crisis. The rainfall is unreliable, and there are more storms, flooding and stronger winds.

‘The climate has changed in our area,’ Jen explains. ‘The rainfall patterns now are not good as compared to the previous seven years when the climate was good.’

The erratic weather is affecting Jen’s profits. ‘The result is that our harvest is very little,’ she says.

The pigeon pea is a tough plant, able to withstand a lot – just like Jen. But to make the most of her crop, Jen needs to plant good quality seeds.

Jen remains resilient. ‘We say, let’s work hard so that the money will help the children go to school,’ she smiles.

About Nandolo Farmers Association

Nandolo Farmers Association (NFA) organises and trains farmers, helps them market their produce, helps them form cooperatives and supports them to increase their pigeon pea harvests.