Keresia Kambuzi (91) vividly recalls occasionally spending the whole day without eating and sometimes consuming food at lunch and supper only, in an attempt to save the little food she and her grandchildren struggle to scrap up during the lean season.
This has changed as she and her grandchildren now receive food packs under the Lean Season Assistance (LSA) program that is being implemented by World Vision in Mudzi were she resides.
Funded by World Food Programme (WFP) in partnership with USAID and the Government of Zimbabwe, the LSA program is also being implemented in Mt Darwin, Mangwe, Buhera and Nkayi districts with an aim of mitigating hunger and desperation among vulnerable communities.
“Before World Vision came, sometimes we would only eat a proper meal in the evening around this time of the year when our little stock would be close to depleted,” said Kambuzi as she slowly shakes her head.
“This affected us in every aspect of our lives as we could not do much on empty stomachs.”
Mudzi is not an economic hub and does not have many activities that enable vulnerable families to put food on the table. Many families rely on either their children or relatives who work in the larger cities to send them money or food. For those who do not have anyone they depend on, the situation is quite dire.
“With my age and ailing health, I can barely do anything. I now rely on handouts from friends and relatives,” said Kambuzi.
The introduction of the WFP funded LSA program has drastically changed Kambuzi’s life as she and her grandchildren can now eat proper nutritional meals. They are receiving maize, pulses and cooking oil, and this has also improved their food security and saving them from malnutrition.
“My grandchildren are now looking healthy and they can now also carry some food to school, something that they rarely did before the donor came,” she said.
Though I am now very old, I now have somee energy to do little work at my homestead and this is all thanks to the donor who has been assisting us with food,” she added.
World Vision is assisting 72,064 people in Mudzi under the LSA program and just like many other families, Kambuzi appreciates what the program is doing in the community.
“I thank our donors (World Vision, WFP and USAID) for their help and I want to ask, if possible, they should help us with seedlings and fertilsers so that we can farm more food on our own,” said Kambuzi.
“This will also help us in having more stock and we will have something to consume during the next lean season as we should not always depend on donors.”