When Kafelini Daudi’s husband told her to take their children and go ahead of him to Ntcheu, a small village in rural Malawi, she assumed that he would meet them there. But he never did. Unable to locate him, Kafelini had no choice but to move forward. She needed to find a way to provide for her five children, even if they only ate one meal a day. She remembers, “I had no money.”
The only work Kafelini could find was as seasonal farm labor, harvesting or planting crops for others. “People in my community used to think of me as a poor person,” she recalls, thinking back on that time. Feeling alone in her struggle to feed her family, she also felt distant from God. “I used to gossip a lot,” she says, remembering how in her anger she would hold grudges against people.
Malawi is a predominately Christian country. So feeling culturally obligated, Kafelini started attending a church in her new village, but she made little effort to get to know others. When she joined a savings group through her church, she found Christian community for the first time. “Prior to joining the [savings] group, I wasn’t active with God,” she explains. But through the relationships developed in her savings group, “I received Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior,” she says. Committed to leaving her anger and loneliness behind, Kafelini credits her changed life to her new faith. “Christ Jesus transformed my life, and I am never going back to doing those things again.”
And much has changed in Kafelini’s life as she’s learned more about God and how to live in community with others. With access to loans from her savings group, she’s invested in several entrepreneurial activities, from starting a poultry business to buying and selling produce and expanding her new farm. As Kafelini has learned about godly generosity in her savings group, she’s also sought to bless her community, providing seasonal employment on her farm and giving to others who are financially struggling like she once did.
Even as Kafelini’s financial situation has improved, the emotional weight of raising children on her own has still felt difficult to carry. “I am doing it by myself,” she says. “Sometimes it’s hard.” Though still hopeful that her husband will return, she sees God’s care in her savings group’s support. When her children were sick and medicine seemed to provide little relief, the group prayed over her children, and each child made a full recovery.
Grateful for her group and God’s provision, Kafelini says, “In my group, we are like one family. Regularly, we visit one another to encourage one another.”
Watch how men and women like Kafelini are using what’s in their hands to invest in their dreams of providing for their families and communities.