If I work hard, we can be able to do anything

Monde Simushi is a 53 year old widow of Mapungu zone in Nakande ADP in the Western Province of Zambia. She was given two piglets under the World Vision pass-on pig project; they multiplied to 52.

When Monde Simushi had been given pigs to rear most people in her village had discouraged her saying they were demonic animals and she wouldn’t manage as a woman. But she has proven them wrong – so much so that some of them have even come to ask that she give them some piglets!

“When I was selected as one of the beneficiaries for the pass-on pig programme, some people discouraged me saying I wouldn’t manage to rear pigs as a single mother,” Monde explains. “But now that I have managed to rear them and I am able to send my children to school the same people want them.”

Monde Simushi is a widow with six children with the youngest child Myangana a sponsored child, who is in grade eight. Her husband died in 2000 after being sick for some time from pneumonia. “At the time of his death it was a very difficult time because I lost two of my young brothers at the same time,” she explains. “Between my brothers they left seven children and four of them were school-going, so I had to help send these children to school.”

Apart from her own children, Monde wanted to ensure that her brothers’ children were able to continue and complete their education. “The year when my husband died was really hard because I had not cultivated a big field as I was nursing him at home, so food was scarce the few months after his death,” she recalls. “Then I was among the selected widows to benefit from the pass-on pig project, it was an answer to my prayer.”

She was given two piglets that grew and with time they multiplied. “When the piglets were brought my daughter Myangana is the one who said she would be feeding them, she has continued to do that,” she says. 

From the two that she was given the pigs multiplied to 52, she passed on two from the first litter. “My son has just completed his secondary school education and I have been paying his school fees from these same pigs,” she says. 

So far, Monde has managed to sell 35 pigs and used the money for paying school fees and buying other necessities for the home.

“I have also used some of the money raised from the sales to pay people who have helped me cultivate my maize field as I don’t have animals to use when cultivating,” Monde explains.

While other girls have brothers to feed their animals, Myangana has no such luxury, so she has to do it herself. They are also a means of her achieving her dream of completing school.

“These are our animals so I also help my mother to feed them and ensure that they have water so that they can grow big,” Myangana says. “Through the sale of pigs my mother will continue to pay for my school fees so that I can complete school and become a teacher.”

During the last rain season Monde’s house collapsed due to heavy rains, she had to have a temporary house built while she plans on building a new stronger house after this rain season. “I have already bought the iron sheets that will be used, I got them also from the pig sales,” she explains. 

Monde wants to build on the success of her pig-rearing project and venture into something else so that there could be two sources of income for the family.

“World Vision gave me the pigs and the motivation to be able to rear them as they gave me money for taking care of my children, now I want to also start another business in addition to the pigs,” she explains. “I want to start a small shop so that I can be selling things to the people in the community instead of them walking or paddling long distances to buy what they need.”

While others would be satisfied with what they were given, for Monde this has only served as an incentive to go forward and do even more.

“I have seen from the pig project that if I work hard with my children nothing will be difficult for us, we can be able to do anything,” she says. “Next time you visit you will find my new house and my small shop, thank you World Vision for the pigs they have also given me my dream for a shop and house.”

Monde has managed to prove all the cynics wrong by showing that even a woman can be able to rear pigs and make money from such a venture.