For 60-year-old Nelisi Tembo, her vegetable garden is a place of hope.
She has used money earned from the small plot at her homestead in Mwachilala village in Southern Malawi to construct a new tin-roofed home, to buy a treadlepump for irrigation and to pay school fees for her children and grand-children.
Earlier this year Nelisi also bought a passport for her eldest son – to enable him to emigrate to South Africa for work. “This garden has changed my life,” she says.
“I grow tomatoes, onions, mustard and other vegetables twice a year, and am earning more than I ever did before from farming.” “It has given my family a chance in life.
My son is now in South Africa working, and is sending money home to support his brothers and sisters.” Nelisa took part in a small-scale irrigation project supported by Self Help Africa, and received training in vegetable production, seed, and other support.
She sells her produce in the local market, and also sells to local tourist hotels along the road to the capital Lilongwe, where she lives. “Next year I plan to buy an ox cart, so that I can transport my own produce to market” she says.