Let me share a story with you:
Vanessa is 21 years young, her son Quiency is just 6 months old. She stays at home with her mother and three younger sisters in a rural home. The mother is unable to work, the sisters have to provide for her. She only finished highschool because she was selected for a sponsorship. She can't afford university. Even though she is intelligent, she struggles to find a job.
So she just stays at home trying to figure out what to do. Trying to find a way to survive.
Vanessa is thin, too thin for a mother, malnourished. As a result one day her body refuses to provide milk. She is unable to breastfeed. A nightmare. Because she cannot afford the expensive formula for her little son Quiency. On top of that the father of Quiency decided to abandon the young mother and his son and move to another country, not willing to support them any longer.
She doesn't see any other way out. She has to find a job! As there is none in her small town, she decides to leave her safe home and go on a long journey without knowing if her prayers will be heard. Just with a small bag and her son in her arms she arrives one evening in Nkhata Bay. A town where she doesn't know anyone.
She leaves her son with a welcoming woman, a stranger that she just met. If she would ask for a job with a baby on her back, people would just send her away. Thus, alone she heads to hotels and restaurants, walks several hours, knocks on many doors, only to be send away. There, too, are no jobs. Near a breakdown she opens up her heart to a woman in town, begging for piecework. The woman cannot give her a job because she herself just started this job. However, she offers the young woman a place to sleep. She says to her that "my house, is your house." and advises to ask for piecework next door.
Luckily in that moment the owner of the shop next door arrives. She approaches her. The woman however, just responds quickly that she doesn't have time and tells her to come back later.
Time passes by. Five minutes, ten minutes, one hour. The shop owner is still nowhere to be seen. Vanessa is stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea. She needs to go and feed her son. But if she leaves and the shop owner comes back, she might misses out on a desperately needed job, maybe her only opportunity. She opts for her son.
In the mean time the shop owner comes back, finds the young woman gone. She was relieved because this way she wouldn't be stuck between a rock and a hard wall and would have to send her away. She doesn't like people begging for money. Nevertheless the shop owner asks her neighbor why this young woman wanted to speak with her. The neighbor confirms her apprehension. But she does more than just that, she briefly outlines the story of the young woman.
When Vanessa comes back from taking care of her son, she finds the shop owner waiting for her, welcoming her warmly, not as cold as before. The young mother is so hopeless and desperate that she even forgets to introduce herself. She starts straight begging for piecework. The shop owner however kindly asks her for her name and where she comes from. That opens up her heart and she tells the woman her story. The young mother is so powerless that her tears roll down silently, her voice stuck.
The shop owner listened to the young woman with an open heart. Because there is something that connects them both: courage. Even though the shop owner doesn't have a baby herself, she, too, left her home and moved far away from her safe zone. She had a privileged life, but was stuck, depressed, felt helpless and frustrated. She did not accept her situation and thus moved half around the globe to find her calling.
This is the story of two women that the universe brought together, two women connected though their fierce will of not giving up.
This story is real.
It happened today.
It happened to me - I am the shop owner.
I could not send her away. I gave Vanessa piecework for the day. Just from talking and spending the day with her, I can see a lot of potential. She is attentive, fast learning, proactive and hard-working; a grateful soul and positive spirit.
You can help this courageous young mother. With your regular donation you will enable me to offer her a job in my environmental organisation. 100 € per month are more than double the basic Malawian salary. Enough to take care of not only her baby but of herself, too.
Pledge now on https://green-spark.org/en/support/donate. Please let me know that this is specifically to support Vanessa. I will keep you, the donor, personally updated on Vanessa's progress.
Vanessa and I thank you for reading our story.