How Sponsorship is Transforming Life for Single Moms and Their Children

05/08/17

Happy Mother’s Day! Usually we tell you stories about how sponsorship is transforming children’s lives. Today, in honor of mothers everywhere, we want to show you how sponsorship is transforming the lives of moms too.

Meet Tabitha and Jenifer. These two women live in Chilombo village, about a 45-minute drive from COTN’s ministry center in Malawi. COTN has been working in this village since 2007. For these two single moms, COTN’s Village Partnership Program has been a miracle.

 

Jenifer moved herself and her kids to Chilombo after she got divorced. “I was deeply troubled,” she says. But she regained hope after enrolling five of her children in COTN’s Village Partnership Program

“I had a moment when I was deeply troubled in my life, that was when I was married,” Jenifer explains. When she got divorced she was left to support seven children all on her own. “I didn’t have even beddings, I didn’t even have a proper house.” For divorced or widowed mothers in Malawi, life is incredibly difficult—they struggle simply to survive. 

These women were born into the cycle of poverty. They received little or no education. But even with an education, jobs are hard to find in Malawi. There are few government assistance programs and often their extended families are unable to help.

Tabitha has lived her whole life in Chilombo. When her husband left her, Tabitha felt hopeless because she knew she couldn’t take care of her children properly. 

Tabitha’s story is incredibly similar to Jenifer's. After her husband left her, Tabitha was left to care for her seven children alone. “I was very poor,” she says. “I couldn’t take care of [my children] very properly like other people raise their kids. I was very troubled because I couldn't even take care of my kids. I had no beddings and I had no proper house. So it was very difficult for me.”

Tabitha remembers when the village chief announced that people from an organization called Children of the Nations would be coming. “We were very eager,” says Tabitha. “Maybe they would register [our children] and then we would get helped out.”

Just as quickly as the news spread, rumors began spreading as well. “We had to hear so many rumors that these people would eat our children,” says Tabitha. But she held onto hope. When COTN arrived, she met with them. “I was very happy because I knew they were someone who would help raise my kids,” she says. 

Single moms like Tabitha and Jenifer have spent their whole lives working hard simply to survive.

Jenifer remembers what it felt like to watch her kids going to school and eating nutritious meals. “That moment that I just saw that my children were enrolled in COTN, that’s when I already say that I saw life changing,” Jenifer says. In addition to an education and food, her children received soap, blankets, and clothes after COTN staff assessed their level of need. And COTN even provided her with maize and fertilizer so she could grow her own food. 

 

                          Sponsorship helps children break out of the cycle of poverty. 

The support revolutionized Jenifer’s family.

Today, one of her children, Sandram, is now attending university through COTN’s sponsorship program. Jenifer says his life would have been drastically different without COTN’s help. “Had it not been for COTN taking my child, sponsoring him to go to university, maybe now he would be married, maybe having 3 kids because men of his peers, now they are all married.”

Tabitha now has one child attending university as well, and another attending COTN’s secondary school, the International Christian Academy. The future for Jenifer, Tabitha, and their children looks much brighter now. “I have hope for these children because COTN is helping them,” says Tabitha. “After they get an education and they find jobs, they are going to help me and they are going to help themselves.”

Tabitha says she's seen the same positive effects on other families in her village. “I’ve seen a huge impact from COTN on the women here in the village because it’s not only me that COTN is helping as a single mom but I have also seen some other women benefiting from COTN," she says. "I just want to thank God for COTN coming into my life. ... They’ve done a great job in our lives helping our children to become the future leaders. It’s not something that is simple but it’s a huge impact in our lives. So we just want to thank you so much.”

Jenifer feels the same way. “I feel like COTN has helped me a lot,” she says. “I am a single mom but then I’ve benefited a lot because of what they have done in my life. I really thank God and all those people who are helping COTN. May God bless them, they are doing a great job. May God bless them. We don’t take that for granted.”

                                     Happy Mother’s Day from our family to yours!