Elina and her son Aubrey by in their farm
Elina and her son Aubrey by in their farm

Helping Families Adopt and Maintain Healthy Behaviors: Elina Elias's Story

Jun 18 2018

In the heart of Mangochi lies Matekwe village, which is where Elina Eliasi and her family bask in the recently found rays of hope they realized through One Community interventions. Elina is a 28-year-old mother to four children—Emily (13), Harold (9), Nathan (4), and Aubrey (1). She is also a stepmother to her husband’s child, 16-year-old son Samson, and an orphaned 15-year-old relative, Yamikani.

From the onset of her marriage, Elina has struggled to fend for her family while her husband, Mr. Burton, spent most of his earnings buying alcohol. In early 2017, Elina stumbled upon some One Community volunteers mobilizing community members for an HIV risk reduction and gender norm training session.

“I decided to go and hear for myself what these people had brought for us, I convinced my husband and we went together,” Elina remarked reflectively.

Through the One Community training sessions, they received HIV education, which prompted them to go for HIV testing services. They also were introduced to gender norm discussions based on real-life stories of community members who challenged negative social norms, stopped abusing alcohol and became inspirational figures in their communities.

“The sessions were truly a turning point for my husband and I. My husband stopped drinking and has now taken a more active role in assisting me with our farm,” Elina explains. “With both our effort, we are able to produce more and contribute towards our household’s needs.”

Elina’s relationship with One Community has continued to blossom. She has joined a local VSL group, where she has been saving profits from their farm. In April 2017, she secured a MK 10,000 (USD 13.60) loan and started a donut selling business; she also invested in growing vegetables for sale. From her ventures, she makes on average MK 2,000 (USD 2.30) a day; and because of this, she was able to repay her loan by mid-June. In early July, she got another loan, which she used to buy a goat. Her hopes are that she can breed more goats and later on sell the meat.

“We now make better decisions together. I am also proud to see Elina confidently pursue her businesses. From her undertakings, she has been able to provide the household with groceries, such as salt, sugar, and cooking oil. She also contributes towards our children’s school fees,” Elina’s husband shared proudly.

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