“This morning, my son Kelvin asked me what are we going to eat today? I said God is the one who will provide for us, my son,” says Meliya of Malawi. “I found out that Islamic Relief will be distributing food packs today, so when Kelvin comes home, he will find food.”
Due to El Nino weather conditions, rainfall was poor and the weather was hot in Malawi between October 2015 and March 2016 — during the rainy season. That led to poor harvests, leaving 39% of the population in need of humanitarian aid for the period of July 2016 to March 2017. Meliya’s district, Chikwawa, was one of the hardest hit, with 9 in 10 people at risk of food insecurity.
Meliya is a widow caring for her son Kelvin and two grandsons, James and Filippo. She struggles to provide even one meal a day for the children. Meliya is a farmer. “This year I tried to plant drought-resistant millet but still I came home empty handed,” she said. “I did not harvest a single bag of food.”
She said, “Before Islamic Relief brought us food packs, I would go into the bush and look for wild tubers to cook for the children when they come back from school. If I don’t find any, we will go to bed hungry. The children would cry from hunger, but I didn’t know where to go and ask for food as the whole village, everyone is in the same situation.”
Islamic Relief USA donors provided food packages to 1,500 of the most vulnerable families each month for three months. The food packs contained 110 pounds of corn flour, 11 pounds of beans, 1 quart of cooking oil and 4 pounds of iodized salt.
“A child needs food to have the energy to go to school,” Meliya said. “This food has helped my children to attend school.”