Chikuni is a small-scale farmer living in one of the remotest villages in Dowa District, about 50 kilometres from Malawi’s Capital, Lilongwe. In fact, farming has been a tradition in his family because his parents are small-scale farmers too and actually that is where Chikuni took after. The family grows tobacco, tomato, maize and different other varieties of crops. However, farming is unpredictable. Price fluctuations, erratic rainfalls and costly farm inputs all make the field of agriculture a risky business. And to small-scale farmers who mostly depend on the business for survival, sustaining farms at times becomes a bumpy ride.
Her name is Umuhoza which is Kinyarwanda meaning ‘Comforter’. Ironically though, the experience the young woman and her family have passed through in life has not been exactly comforting to her. For one, she is a refugee and that in itself is a huge discomfort. Her education too, from primary to secondary school, has been marred by a great deal of unbearable challenges. There was a time that Umuhoza gave up all hope and believed that she could never make it. Worse still, Umuhoza’s family are living in a setting where there are restrictions barring refugees from getting employed or running a business and this makes it extremely difficult for them to survive because it limits their sources of financial income.