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Softly-spoken Esther Saizi, 54, radiates joy and warmth.

Esther grows some truly special pigeon peas on her farm - with them she can bake delicious bread, support her daughter’s dreams, and give her adorable little grandsons a happy future, full of love and laughter. But she wasn't always able to support her family so easily.

'We are a community that helps one another a lot.

- Esther.
Image credits and information i
Esther Saizi and the village saving and loans group dancing Credit: Adam Haggerty/ Christian Aid
Malawian women in traditional clothes dancing

A fair price - at least

For 10 years, Esther grew pigeon peas on her farm, but she could never secure a fair price for her crop.

She was robbed in 2021 when Cyclone Ana washed away her crops, leaving her feeling desperate. But when Esther joined a pigeon pea programme run by our local partner - Nandolo Farmers Association - and started selling as part of a cooperative, she was able to earn much more.

‘I was able to sell the pigeon peas at a better price with a better market,’ she explains. ‘It provided financial stability.’

The power of love, loss and legacy

A doting mother and grandmother, Esther adds that growing pigeon peas also helped her through the loss of her husband.

Previously, they worked together on their land. When he fell ill, they spent time talking about how she could continue to grow the peas after his death.

‘My husband was a teacher in everything thing that he did,’ she says quietly. ‘Therefore, we can continue his legacy.’

‘It is food that makes a meal for the whole day.’

And not just for the day, but for the future. With the money she's making, Esther has been able to feed her family and support her two daughters, Ziwone and Rashida. She's been able to:

  • buy tools for Ziwone's carpentry business
  • pay for Rashida’s school costs, the lodgings near her school, and a part-time tutor
  • acquire a herd of 13 goats, who provide manure for her crops, saving on expensive fertiliser  
  • store her pigeon peas in a warehouse, safe from floods and storms
  • buy a sewing machine

Through the cooperative and its equipment, Esther can bake pigeon pea flour bread and boost her income - and also make fish food, using a special machine provided by us.

Image credits and information i
Esther Saizi and her cooperative make bread from processed pigeon peas. Credit: Adam Haggerty/ Christian Aid
A group of women in Malawian cooperative making bread

How changes like this became possible

Thanks to people like you, this change has been possible for Esther and her community.

Esther's dream is to see Rashida graduate from college and become a nurse, and to send her two grandsons to nursery.

With your gift this Christian Aid Week, you could help more families like Esther's have a brighter future. More farmers could secure a fair price for their crops, and more loving parents like her could make their children’s dreams come true.

Your Christian Aid Week gift

Your gift this Christian Aid Week will help make dreams come true for women like Esther.