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Social cash transfer: Tereza Chatsilizika, HIV positive single mother with disabled children

© UNICEF/Gaelle Sevenier/2007
Tereza Chatsilizika and her daughter.

Head of household: Tereza Chatsilizika, HIV positive single mother with disabled children

Social cash transfer assistance: 1,400 kwacha per month ($10)

Lilongwe, December 2007 - Gaelle Sevenier. One morning, a group of school children arrived at Tereza Chatsilizika’s home, having run all the way from school. “Come quick!” they screamed, pulling her by the arm. When the mother arrived at the school, her daughter Aida, 14 years old, was lying on the floor. She had fallen outside her classroom when her legs had become suddenly and inexplicably too weak to stand. Her hands were also affected. No one knows what is wrong with her body. Aida will never stand again.

A year later, Tereza’s younger daughter Eneless was struck by the same mysterious condition as her sister. The family noticed that she was walking as if she was drunk. She kept falling, again and again. When taken to the hospital, she was shivering. She is now in a wheel chair.

“I am proud of my two girls and I plan to keep them both in school. I hope to someday find assistance to take them abroad to heal their legs.”

Health professionals from the hospital have still not been able to determine what disease the two young girls are suffering from.

But the hardship in Tereza’s life does not end with her daughters. In 2000, her husband died of AIDS. Two years later, the single mother was diagnosed as HIV positive. Her daughters have never been tested.

When the social cash transfer scheme entered the lives of Tereza and her daughters, there was very little food on their plates each day. The disabled girls were not going to school anymore because no one could help them to get there.

With 1,400 Kwacha ($10) a month, both children have now re-entered school. The government donated two wheelchairs, and Tereza is now able to pay a labourer to push the chairs all the way to school. Both girls want to do office work in the future and eventually hope to become top officials.





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The direct impact of Social Cash Transfer on the lives of ultra poor families in Malawi


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