The strongest testament to Sarah’s success and happiness is the way she talks about her family’s suffering and struggling in the past tense. The time before and after receiving the 1000 Shillings grant are two distinct eras for her family, and whenever she talks about the way she used to live, she always contrasts that period with how her family lives now.
While before she was often hungry, now she and her children eat three meals a day. Before she struggled to pay rent in full and on time every month, now she pays the landlady the full amount at the end of the month every month.
“Last year before I got 1000 Shillings, I used to suffer. At that time I had no money, I was just struggling. But now, I have a business, and this year I am OK,” Sarah said.
Along with full stomachs and a roof over their heads, Sarah’s family is healthier this year. As her business grew, Sarah was able to purchase mosquito nets for her children’s beds, reducing the frequency with which they contracted malaria. Instead of becoming falling sick every week or two, now the children sometimes go months without an illness. getting sick.
In addition to helping her own children, Sarah can now helps the rest of her family as well.
“Things have improved because right now, I can even help my sister and when she and her children do not have money, I can even help them. Even my mother I can manage to help her now,” Sarah said.
As a single mother, Sarah improved her family’s lifestyle all on her own. She wants to improve other women’s livelihoods as well, and is now training one of her neighbors to sew who is in the same situation she was in a year ago.
A DAY IN THE LIFE
Sarah wakes up to her alarm at exactly 6 a.m. every morning. The blaring noise wakes her children as well, saving Sarah the hassle of dragging her children from their beds. The whole family takes tea before the children walk to their respective schools.
After the children leave, Sarah spends the morning in her quiet home cleaning and sweeping the floors. She cleans everyday and reserves Saturdays for laundry.
“I go and fetch water, clean the house, wash clothes and I sweep, after finishing that at 8, I come [to Child of Hope] and make uniforms,” Sarah said.
She is a part-time seamstress for Child of Hope, 1000 Shillings’ partner organization, where one of her children attends. Much of Sarah’s life revolves around this school, where she not only works, but also deposits her savings and comes to pray on Sundays.
When she is finished at 1 p.m., Sarah eats lunch and returns home to sew at her own shop. The afternoon’s work often consists of selling first and secondhand clothes or making custom clothes for customers. She sews everyday of the week, including Sundays after returning from church.
“I have to work very hard because these children, they need to eat!” Sarah says. Although her days are long, she looks forward to sewing every day.
Sarah cooks dinner at 6:30 p.m. as her children begin returning home for the evening. They take tea again before eating a supper of beans, rice, potatoes or posho. Then, they pray and prepare for the following day.
“Before we sleep my daughters they say, ‘Mommy, let’s first pray,’” Sarah says. “After praying they say, ‘Mommy you put the clock alarm so that we are going to wake up very early in the morning. We don’t want to go to school late.”