Chande James is in her early 50s. She has seven grown children and is taking care of three grandchildren. Because of her vulnerability and food insecurity, Chande was identified to participate in the food distribution taking place in the Balaka District of Malawi.

PWS&D partner Blantyre Synod Health and Development Commission (BSHDC), with the support of Canadian Foodgrains Bank and PWS&D, is supplying five thousand food-insecure households – representing 25,000 people – with maize flour, salt and cooking oil.. The food aid is being distributed to the most marginalized within communities – including households headed by children, the elderly, females and the physically challenged, as well as households infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.

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After receiving this much-needed assistance, Chande now has food in her home and is able to devote her energy to working on her own farm, rather than working on other people’s farms in exchange for food.

“I saw God answering my prayers,” said Chande, recalling difficult days. “I lost hope because of poor harvests during the last growing season. Owners of the fields we were working on had not harvested enough. Many people were looking for work, with few farm owners willing to hire them. The help from Blantyre Synod allowed us to work hard on our own farms, full of energy,” she said.

“When I look at my grand children they have greatly improved. They eat three times a day. Before I was not providing them any food in the morning because I thought it better that they skip breakfast and eat in the evening. But now, I prepare porridge for them from the maize flour, salt and cooking oil we are given. This is something I have never done for them. I am grateful to Blantyre Synod,” explained Chande while sharing a meal with her daughter and grandchildren.

Failesi shows off the ripe corn in her field

Failesi Mwadala is also receiving food aid from this project. Suffering from epilepsy, it’s important for her to eat nutritiously in order for the drugs that manage her condition to work properly. “I take the drugs now as prescribed because we have enough food at home.” Failesi said while pounding maize.

She also has the energy now to work her plot of land. “My parents assigned me a plot which I worked on and I can proudly take you around because the maize has matured. I am grateful because instead of working on other people’s fields for food, we worked on our own farm and we will reap greatly,” Failesi said with a smile on her face.

Food aid will be distributed in Balaka District until March 2013. This relief is intended to help sustain or increase household food intake, protect livelihoods and reduce reliance on negative coping mechanisms that can lead to further hunger and poverty.