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Community stories

Mary and Flocy's story

CH1953987 Mary and her daughter Flocy three near their home in Balaka district Malawi

Mary is 22 years old and comes from the Balaka district in Malawi. She has a three-year old daughter named Flocy. Not too long ago, there would be times when Mary would go to bed hungry, sacrificing her own meal to ensure Flocy had enough to eat. “I’d sleep without eating” she recalled. “I was breastfeeding, the baby needs food through me, I need to eat.”

The introduction of our programme, in partnership with Save the Children and GiveDirectly and donor partners Hilton Foundation, UK Aid, the Government of Malawi and IFPRI was a lifeline for Mary and many other families in similar situations. It offers not just cash transfers but also invaluable guidance on nutrition and child development, as well as initiatives to support climate resilience. With each transfer, Mary felt a weight lift from her shoulders. "It was like my life had relief," she said.

Receiving the funds weren’t just a temporary fix; they gave Mary and Flocy the chance of a more prosperous and brighter future. "My life will change when I have a house," she declared. "I want to build my own house with my savings." Using the savings, Mary was bricks and materials for her house, a big moment recognised by the village chief who allocated her some land.

"What excites me a lot is when I see my child growing from childhood to adulthood and when I see her happy"

CH1953800 A portrait of Mary near her home in Balaka district Malawi 1

The programme isn’t just about giving families financial assistance. It provides them with the knowledge and tools that will help them nourish their children’s bodies and minds. “[We learn] good eating habits," Mary explained. "[We have also received] seeds and we built gardens where we’ve grown vegetable crops… so that our children are not malnourished."

Through the programme, Mary has been able to bond with others in the community, "When we meet as parents, we teach each other how we can care for our children," she shared, "[the programme] taught us how we can have a healthy and happy child."

Mary is looking to the future, "What excites me a lot is when I see my child growing from childhood to adulthood and when I see her happy."

Flocy laughs whilst her mother Mary tickles her. (c) Sam Vox/Save the Children

Find out more about our programme in Malawi here.