Hellen Nyirenda, a widow and mother of six was excited about the future after benefiting from the Orphaned and Vulnerable Group housing project. A three-roomed house and ventilated improved pit latrine/wash area were constructed for her.
“Nitasha zikomo ku mulungu pali iyi nyumba,” she exclaimed [translated: “I am thankful to God for the house”].
Sadly, her happiness was short lived as Hellen died early in 2018. The three eldest children now live in the house. These are Andrew, Joseph and Michael aged 23, 21 and 19 years old. The three youngest, Leah, Innocent and Taonga aged 14, 12 and 9 years old live with their uncle (brother to the Hellen). In addition, the two double orphans Hellen used to take care of are living with close relatives. Their names are Agness, aged 22 and Donald, aged 20 years old.
Hellen’s eldest son, Andrew narrated, “We really miss our mother. The new house is our source of comfort; we are so thankful. No one can evict us from the house as it is now ours.”
To earn a living, Andrew works at a Barber shop earning up to K50 ($5) a day. However, he works on part-time basis meaning the flow of income is not as steady as he would like.
“We also keep chickens and plant sweet potatoes for home consumption. Our mother’s relatives help us a lot with food,” Andrew remarked.
He added that the new house was built with quality materials so it is durable. The family accesses water from a neighbour’s hand pump at a fee of K10 ($1) monthly 500 meters away. They have two meals daily cooked on firewood.
“We would have been left destitute after our mother’s death, thank you for the house” – Andrew