Chris Kumwenda dreamed of building a new home with comfortable beds and plenty of space to watch her loved ones grow and thrive.

This dream often felt impossible. In her Malawian village, Chris was living in poverty. When her husband passed away, she became the sole caregiver of her five grandchildren. Scrounging together enough money to pay for food, clothing and school fees was a constant source of stress.

PWS&D-supported self-help groups meet in Kaluhoro, Malawi. Photo: Paul Jeffrey

When PWS&D’s Building Sustainable Livelihoods program came to her community, Chris joined a self-help group—an organized way for women in her village to come together to save money, distribute loans and support each other.

This experience was transformative for Chris. In many poor Malawi villages, it is very difficult for women to access loans.

Such a group is just one of the activities that PWS&D’s partner in northern Malawi oversees to help families earn liveable incomes and access necessities for life. Vocational skills training, educational support, and health, hygiene and nutrition promotion activities are also empowering families to improve their quality of life.

Small Loan, Happy Home

Chris Kumwenda stands proudly in her home she fixed up herself with loans from her self-help group. Photo: Paul Jeffrey

With her loans from the group, Chris started a business breaking up quarry stones to make gravel to sell in her village. Soon, she was earning enough to better care for her grandchildren, providing food, soap and other necessities. Tireless with her savings, Chris soon began building the home she’s always dreamed of.

So far, Chris has paid for a new tin roof and cement flooring, as well as sturdy plaster walls and new beds. Her next plan is to install water pipes. She continues to make improvements to her home whenever she can.

Chris’s grandchildren love having more space, comfortable furniture and a clean environment. For Chris, her new home is just the beginning—a symbol of her ability to shape her own future. With greater financial independence, she is empowered to continue pursuing her dreams that will ensure her grandchildren are healthy, educated and safe.

Your faithful and generous support is lifting families like Chris’s out of poverty and building more prosperous communities!


Donations made to PWS&D’s Sustainable Livelihoods program in Malawi are maximized through generous support from the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada.