Kitty Yobe used to struggle to make ends meet. The mother of six grew maize and pigeon peas on her small plot of land in Balaka, in Malawi’s south. But unpredictable rains meant she could never grow enough to last out the year and her family would sometimes go for days without food.
It’s the middle of the rainy season in Malawi. The countryside is green and many households are happy to see better rainfall than last year. However, the effects of last year’s poor harvest are still being felt. Many families in Nankumba village in Mangochi district do not have enough food to feed their children. One of these families is Cecilia Martin’s. Food insecurity has led to her one-and-a-half-year-old baby girl, Viola, to suffer from severe malnutrition.
Mwandida Kazembe has one job: ensuring her four children have enough to eat. It’s not an easy task. The family has struggled since her husband’s death seven years ago. Farming is Mwandida’s only source of food; she grows maize on a small garden plot.
In a good year, she harvests five bags of maize, enough to feed her family for about five months. However, there haven’t been enough good years lately so she’s had to make do with just two or three bags each year. “The rain is unpredictable, it comes late or too little,” says Mwandida.
Today, on Saturday 23 June, Malawi is commemorating the International Day of People with Albinism. Unfortunately, people with albinism in Malawi are living in fear, following a series of violent attacks. The situation is worse for children because they are the most vulnerable and therefore the most targeted.
Mde Chida and her husband grow maize and groundnuts to sustain their six children. Most of what they harvest, they eat. Sometimes they sell a little to pay for household essentials.