Her name is Nokuzola Mpengesi, a lady aged 31, from Umguza ward 3 from a village called Mandluntsha.
“I am a mother of three girls. I am married. My husband and I are unemployed, meaning, we have no stable income. My husband is not in good health, so, I am the one who looks after the family. I survive by doing piece jobs such as doing laundry, cleaning in houses and tilling other people’s land,” she wantonly says.
She also sells airtime whose profit is insignificant. Due to Covid-19, people no longer hire her like before because of they also do not have money.
“With no piece jobs available, my family hardly make ends meet. Hunger took a toll mostly on my 3 girls who spend most of their time at home since schools have been closed since March 2020”.
“In December 2020, I had no idea where I could get money for food. I was not on the list of those receiving food handouts in September 2020, but would always come to the distribution point. Unfortunately, according to the village based ranking system, i was not qualified to receive food then”.
“I would beg from others who benefitted, some were merciful, while others were not. I was relieved when I found my name on the list of families struggling to provide for their children during this torrid time of COVID-19 at the scale up in December 2020,”
She says the food assistance has been a reprieve for her family.
“The Protecting the Psycho-social Well being of Children during Covid 19 program (PPWCC) has helped me so much as it has relieved me from buying 50 kilograms of mealie-meal, 3,75 milliliters of cooking oil, 2,5 kilograms of sugar beans, 7,5 kilograms of soya chunks and a bar of washing and bathing soap,”
With an infectious smile, Nokuzola shares her daily meal courses She testifies ow her not-so-well husband has recovered.
“This is a huge relief as my children now eat thrice a day as compared to eating once a day like a slave if we were lucky to pick scraps from other people’s fields. My children enjoy a balanced diet and my husband’s health has improved. My ill husband loves sugar beans so much, I have noticed that he has gained weight since he started eating beans last month”.
The food assistance has also be an agent of protecting her children from exploitation.
“For my 3 girls, the food ration means they are safer and healthier, they cannot be exploited by anyone, a problem rampant in our village. The addition of sugar beans and soya chunks has made a huge difference to their diet because they are relieved of eating green vegetables all the time”.
The food ration from HOCIC enables Nokuzola to save the little money she makes.
“The food assistances for December and January has made life easier for me because the little money I have can now be used to cater for other needs like sugar, salt and clothes for my children.”
She has had more time to focus on other things such as starting a small business than spending half of her time looking for something to eat.