Fides is a young mother from Moshi, Tanzania. She moved to Arusha to make money and began selling fruits and vegetables. It was at this time she met her husband and they got married. Their first child was born the year Fides got married and three years later her second child was born.
“After marriage I continued to be engaged with my small business selling fruits and vegetables. I used to get about 10,000 Tshs (about U.S.$7.00) per week, which would give me a profit of about 2,000 Tshs (about U.S.$1.30).
My business was very small and the income I was getting per week was not enough to sustain my family needs.”
Around the time Fides was to have her third child a Survival Specialist from the Child Survival Program at her local church came to Fides’ town and registered her.
“I was at that time seven months pregnant and my life status was very low. I was living in a rented single room with my husband and our two children.
“I had no one to help me during my pregnancy. The Child Survival Program came with the offer to help me with my pregnancy so that I could deliver safely.”
There was no way Fides could resist such an offer. Being desperately in need, she immediately accepted the help. After registration, Fides started to receive medical care and attention.
“I and other mothers who got registered at the same time started receiving laundry soap, cooking oil and baby jelly. I was also given some money to buy maize flour.”
Fides immediately noticed some changes to her life and that of her child. She could now afford to help her other children with the savings she experienced.
“Since then, when it is Christmas time, we have received gifts like new clothes, rice and cooking oil.”
Fides remembers that it is not only material provision she has received through the Child Survival Program.
“We have also been given seminars on entrepreneurship skills for our business. The teaching has helped me know how to increase my income. We were taught how to increase capital by introducing new commodities.”
The center also gave each mother 50,000 Tshs (about U.S.$33.00) to boost their capital. The money helped Fides to increase the goods sold at her kiosk.
“My income now has grown and I am getting about 20,000 Tshs (about U.S.$14.00) as my daily sale.”
Fides’s family can also count themselves very blessed because they were given a half-acre of land by her mother-in-law. The land had been lying idle for many years because they could not develop it.
“But now since I am saving money, we started building our own house. This was a dream come true. We have been able to build a single room on the plot and it is a great relief to us that we are no longer renting. We are beyond the grip of fear compared to when we used to be haunted by the fear that the landlord will expel us from the house.”
The family has also built a new foundation for four more rooms on their plot of land. Fides and her husband have to do most of the work with their hands, so the cost of construction is low. Fides is blessed because her husband is a builder.
“I was his workmate in building because we had no money to hire other laborers to help him. After we finished building our room, we started to build a new room where I had erected the stall room to sell vegetables and fruits.
“We have been able to build a burnt brick room and roof it with iron sheet. This has made the commodities look more attractive and be more safe as compared to the thatched roof house where I used to do business.”
Even with the success Fides has had, they still struggle with drinking water, and sometime they pay up to 500 Tshs (about U.S.$.33) for a 20-liter container of water. This is one of the great family needs that is draining the family income.
But Fides is very grateful for us because through the support of the Child Survival Program, her family has been able to overcome many obstacles that would have been difficult to tackle in their life.
“The Child Survival Program has meant a lot in my life. I did not know it would be like this when we were registering. I was like a person who was dreaming. But I am thankful to God that it has become true. I know my child will be registered with the child sponsorship program when she grows old enough and that she will be able to get a sponsor.”
Fides is optimistic that, because she joined this program, her husband will become committed to the church.