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The lesson he learned

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Asani Douglas is 17 years old. He dropped out of school to take care of his siblings when his mother died. They live in Gojo village, in the Mulanje District in Malawi.

He was forced to abandon school to care for his sick mother, who eventually died in February 2012 leaving a one month old baby.

“I was desperate and without hope. I dropped out of primary school in Grade three. My mother was sick and there was no one to look after her. I had to start selling plastic bags to earn some money to buy some food. When she died she left behind Janet, my little sister who is three years old and Ganizani, my young brother who at the time of the death of my mother was only one month old,” said Douglas.

They were living in a rough one-roomed house that was too small and leaked heavily during the rainy season. Life was hard, but Douglas kept his faith, trusting that God would rescue him and his family, as he continued to try to take care of his siblings by selling plastic bags.

With help from Habitat Malawi, Asani’s life and that of his family has now been completely transformed. Habitat got to hear about the Douglas family through collaboration with the Village Development Committee (VDC), a government social welfare officer and the chief of the area. The family was assisted through funding from Tiberius Services AG from Germany which donated funds to construct 20 houses.

They now have a two roomed house with glass windows, doors, iron sheets and burnt bricks. It is also plastered and cement floored. A Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) latrine was constructed for the family .

“This house has brought hope to my life and am now able to concentrate on farming and growing food as I don’t have to spend so much time repairing the old house,” said a smiling Douglas.

Habitat’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children project aims not only to find housing solutions but also to equip older children, aged between 15 and 18 years, with vocational skills. Douglas was selected by Habitat to undergo vocational skills training in tailoring so that he could be economically independent and further assist his family. Habitat also provided a sewing machine.

“When I finish tailoring training, I will use this machine which you have given me to be self-employed and will use the money to help my sister and brother so that they can finish school and fulfill their dreams”.