Changing lives

Surviving the floods

Saving families

Fighting for justice

 

In January 2015, terrible floods struck Malawi. But in Chikwawa, one of the worst affected districts, people's crops, homes and even lives were saved because of the work Eagles has done.

In Nedi village, a flood drain dug by hand by the community in 2005 prevented their houses being washed away in the floods ten years later. In 2003, Chikalumpha villagers planted a wood lot, deepened the river and grew elephant grass to keep the soil in place. Thanks to their efforts, their fields were protected. Villagers said:
"You see all these crops-they have been saved because the water followed its course. The things that you taught us really work."

 

In 2012 Lezinati, a single mother with five children, joined an Eagles Savings group. She saved enough for fertiliser and other needs. She took out loans for school fees, to buy livestock and pay for a camera for her oldest child, Jevitala. Whilst at school, he set up a small photography business and contributed to the family income. Now in his twenties, Jevitala has used his earnings to open a tearoom in his village and has plans for a bakery. He earns far more than the average local wage. As Lezinati says,
"I was pitiful: I had nothing. I still have some problems like everybody, but I can't compare my life now with the way I was before Eagles helped us start this group."

 

After training from Eagles, church leaders in Mthumba, Malawi's poorest district, set up a lobbying group to fight for justice. They helped farmers stop an unscrupulous international sugar company forcing them to grow sugar instead of food crops. The farmers said: "If it were not for this group, we would have lost our fields."

Since then, the group has negotiated a better price for cotton and persuaded local government to provide promised financial support for orphans as well as help for farmers. Now other villages are following their example.