Transforming Lives

Every day, all over the world, USAID brings peace to those who endure violence, health to those who struggle with sickness, and prosperity to those who live in poverty. It is these individuals — these uncounted thousands of lives — that are the true measure of USAID’s successes and the true face of USAID's programs.

Mai Paraziva's children can attest to the fact that she is not the typical mother and grandmother. For one thing, she spends most of her days riding a motorbike around rural Zimbabwe - rain or shine, fair weather or foul.

Every morning, 56-year-old Abby Ncube of the Matobo district in Zimbabwe spends at least an hour in her garden before doing household chores. Her homestead garden has become a source of livelihood for her family of 11; they get nutritious vegetables for every meal and are able to sell a surplus, meeting some basic household needs.

Edmond Munengiwa was always a successful farmer, but he jumped at the chance to get USAID–sponsored “farming–as–a–business” training and to gain access to buyers through USAID’s partner on the initiative, the Cooperative League of the United States of America (CLUSA).

Mr. Munengiwa lives in Gokwe South (Midlands Province), where communal farmers are often obliged to sell their produce at very low prices to “runners” who serve as their link to the local market. These markets are often flooded with low–cost produce.

Lucas Kaseke lives with his wife, children, and four grandchildren in Gwezere Village in Bindura district, located in northeast Zimbabwe. Kaseke is a farmer, and in recent years the family of eight has struggled to get by due to drought and difficult economic conditions. This year, however, things are looking up thanks to the USAID-sponsored Africare Mashonaland Livelihoods Program.

At the Presbyterian Church in downtown Harare, Zimbabwe, 15-year-old Lovemore and other children crowd around tables in a small room, leaning over their workbooks. Their uniforms are clean and worn with pride, and in many ways it would be difficult to distinguish this classroom from any other.

These are children like Lovemore, who lives at the Mbare bus terminal, a crowded, dirty and dangerous place for anyone, especially at night. They live among illegal vendors, thieves and prostitutes, and are under constant threat of harassment, even by police.

Fortune said she was too young to comprehend the loss of her mother. Six years later, when she lost her father to AIDS and had to live with her uncle, she felt the loneliness of a parentless life. Scholarships got her through secondary school since her uncle could not afford it. When she graduated, she discovered Grassroots Soccer.

Too old to be a participant, Fortune offered to be a volunteer facilitator with the program. She stood out as a committed and passionate volunteer and went on to intern at the head office.

When she was younger, Tarisai “Tears” Wenzira dreamed of becoming a nurse, but when she was forced to drop out of school to support an extended family after her parents’ death, money was short.

In the remote village of Chitanda in Zambia’s Central Province, two-year-old Chipo, is learning to walk. This event is remarkable, given the challenges of her young life.

Chipo’s mother passed away a month after her birth, and she was left in the care of her grandmother. Chipo was diagnosed with HIV and was severely malnourished and constantly sick. Her grandmother did everything in her power to provide Chipo with food and treatment, exhausting precious resources to travel to Liteta Hospital, more than 50 miles away.

Elson Muulu is the principal teacher at the Kasama School of Nursing, in Zambia’s Northern Province. He manages the school, which currently serves 150 nursing students, and teaches together with four others.

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Last updated: September 17, 2014