Lilian’s Story

Self Help AfricaStories

Lilian Simkhonde grew up believing that a woman ought to be cared for and provided for. “I was made to always think that I could depend on my husband for everything I need.” However, after her own journey to self-reliance, that’s no longer the case for Lilian.

‘Stand firmly’ – that’s the meaning of Jimbilira, the Village Savings and Loans cooperative that Lilian Simkhonde joined – setting her on a life-changing path to financial independence and self-reliance.

Lilian used her loan from Jimbilira – part of Self Help Africa’s KULIMA BETTER programme in Malawi – to buy fertiliser. With the increased profits from her maize harvest, Lilian purchased a goat and other small livestock such as chickens and guinea fowl. She’s also started a vegetable garden, selling the extra produce to her neighbours.

“My whole family is in good health. We eat what we want, because we can afford to have all the food groups. It was not like this before the project” says Lilian, smiling.

Her advice to other women farmers? “You can empower yourself and become self-reliant. Do not just depend on men. When you are economically independent, you can survive in all circumstances.”

Learn more about Self Help Africa’s work with women farmers here.