Zimbabwe, May 2014: Small cash transfers pay big dividends for rural poor
At 16, Phoebe has more responsibilities than many adults twice her age. While most adolescents are focused on school, friends, and a few chores around the house, Phoebe has much more on her mind. She is a single mother taking care of her two year old baby without family support and a source of income.
Below is her story:
My parents passed away in 2010 following a long illness. Because of their illness they could not pay for my school fees. I then dropped out of school at the age of 9, because we had no money. Since then, I have never returned to school. At the time of registration for the harmonized social cash transfer program (HSCT) I was staying with my grandmother. There were just the two of us, but my grandmother passed away before the program had started.
After my grandmother died, I was alone and because there was no one to look after me I got pregnant. When I was pregnant, the man left me and I do not know where he is. Before the HSCT program, I had problems getting soap and food for myself and my child, so I relied on doing casual labour in people’s fields My closest relatives are in Zambia so there was no one nearby to help me. I got my first payment of US$30 in June 2013 and I used it to hire labour to clear my fields. I also used the balance for food and to buy clothes for myself and my child.
My Case Care Worker comes to visit me, she says that because I am a child looking after a child she can help me. She has encouraged me to try and get a birth certificate for my baby, but this is hard because his father ran away.
I have just received the fifth payment from the HSCT and I recently bought one goat and the rest I used to buy food. The money is enough for my small family. I am grateful for the program as I had no other alternative for survival. With the next payment, I am going to buy another goat to make sure that I have plenty of livestock.
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