"We stayed for a week without proper meals at the camp. We lacked blankets, buckets and soap since all our materials were washed away. I became very worried for my children."
When the rain started coming down in torrents, 34 year-old Jamiya Kandulo found shelter at the market where she had gone to sell her vegetables.
Little did she know that as she stood there, her world was turning upside down.
Jamiya got back to her home in Joho Village in Malawi, only to discover that her house and all of her neighbours’ houses were under water. Their food, clothes and kitchen supplies had been washed away.
Jamiya’s husband was too far away to help. As a fisherman, he spent most of his time close to the lake, where he had difficulty eking out a living for his family. As his income decreased, they relied more and more on Jamiya’s vegetable garden as a means to support their four children. On a good day, she could make about $3 selling vegetables in the market. After the floods, their livelihood was lost and she was unable to take care of the family.
Jamiya and the children sought refuge at a nearby school that was serving as a temporary camp. More than 60 people were sleeping in a single, overcrowded classroom. They didn’t have clean water or proper washroom facilities, so the risk of disease was high.
“We stayed for a week without proper meals at the camp. We lacked blankets, buckets and soap since all our materials were washed away. I became very worried for my children,” says Jamiya.
In April 2019, the Humanitarian Coalition, through Plan International with support from donors and the Canadian government, began providing shelter supplies and household materials to vulnerable households impacted by Cyclone Idai.
Jamiya was chosen because she was considered the head of her household and in special need. She received a bucket and bottle for water purification, dignity kits for herself and adolescent daughter containing feminine hygiene products, a family hygiene kit including soap, toothbrushes and laundry soap, and two blankets.
To ensure that her family would have a stronger, more resistant home, Jamiya also received rolls of special damp-proof membrane to use in the reconstruction.
She has worked hard to make the bricks she needs, and is confident she can rebuild her home.
“I am very thankful for the items that I have received,” she says. “Now I have a starting point.”
Happily for Jamiya, she will not be alone as she continues this new chapter. Her community has been receiving training on environmental conservation, child protection and sustainable livelihoods. They will be supported as they go back to farming or start new businesses.