TWO sisters in Lupososh district in Northern Province are surviving on the government’s social cash transfer.
The government, through the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, distributes cash to the most destitute and incapacitated households in society to meet their basic needs, particularly health, education, food and shelter.
The Social Cash Transfer (SCT) started in 2003 as a pilot project in Kalomo district, Southern Province.
While other SCT beneficiaries are [mis]using their money to buy elite goodies, two sisters of Kalaba village in Lupososhi district are using the funds to better their lives.
For Elizabeth Mule, 84, and her younger sister Aneta Kapopo ages 83, their lives have never been the same since they started receiving ‘ka samthin’ from the government every month.
SCT beneficiaries are entitled to a K200, which they receive every two months as a sum of K400.
Therefore, Elizabeth and Aneta receive K800 every two months from the government.
Mule and Kapopo use the money to buy home necessities like food, soaps and lotion, a sharp contrast to what used to happen in the past when they struggled to access such.
The two old women keep themselves in a single roomed house.
The funds are received through a female teacher at Kalaba Primary School who then gives the full amount to the old women.
Mule told Kalemba how grateful she is to the government for the funds, as it is their only source of survival.
“We are grateful that we are able to access the money without any complications. My sister and I are both too old to farm in order to gain money. The social cash transfer funds is what has kept us up to now. Before, we couldn’t even afford to buy bathing soap and cooking oil, but now, we are able to,” said Elizabeth.
For the younger sister, Kapopo, she has similar words for the government.
“My sister and I are keeping each other just the two of us, as you can see. We have no other family member to support us financially. If not for the money we receive from government, hunger would have stoked us to death. Ubuteko, elupwa lwesu, ebafyashi (the government is our family as well as our parent. And for that, we remain forever grateful to the government,” said Kapopo.
On top of the SCT money, Mule and Kapopo are helped by fellow villagers who, from time to time, volunteer to assist them to fetch water and most of the physical works which age restricts them from doing.
Pictures and story by Buumba Mwitumwa
Kalemba May 29, 2023