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The Story of Hassam

Hassam M’balaka, Chairperson of Mtubwi Nzerunkudya Radio Listeners’ Club (RLC) was born in 1975 in a family of 4 boys in Malindima Village.

He is a 3rd born son. His father encouraged them to work hard in class such that their first born was a Land Husbandry Officer. .

When Hassam’s father passed away while he was only 7 years old, he went to stay with his elder brother in Lilongwe. .

His brother encouraged him to work hard and finish school. Unfortunately, his brother also passed away when he was in Standard 8 and was 15 years old. .

Hassam had no choice but go back to his home village. .

But he did not continue with school due to lack of support such that he married and now has two children. .

The first born is a boy, eighteen years old and is in form one at a community day secondary school while the last born is a girl, Ireen, thirteen years old and is in standard 4 at Mtubwi Primary School. .

Mr. Mbalaka has always wanted these children to carry over his dream of completing education but could not trace the formula that could make these children intelligent. .

The coming of Nzerunkudya RLC to their school revealed the secret of intelligence to him. .

The secret is giving children something to eat every morning as breakfast and something as a snack. .

He realised this makes learners love school. Since the family started feeding the children it worked like magic that has made the children perform well in class. .

They are always attentive in class and their grades have tremendously improved. .

The boy was selected to Community Day Secondary School and trusts that providing breakfast every day pays. .

His daughter, Irene confirmed that she is now passing examinations with good grades. .

She used to be on position 41 but after parents started giving her food every morning she came to position 13. .

Mrs M'balaka also confirmed that his husband is now taking extra care of the family. .

She said that to her, the fact that Hassan learnt about six food groups has brought change to the diet of the family. .

He brings different foods that enable them to achieve diversification of food. .

The comment from the wife reminded Hassan that they have also learnt about food budgeting. .

They used to throw away a lot of food but this time they cook enough for that day. .

If they have more and that they safely keep any left over for the following day. .

Through this food budgeting he is able to save food and cash. .

He now has started planning and budgeting for iron sheets. .

He wants to build a good house that will be thatched with iron sheets. .

When asked about the source of the money for that project, he said that they their RLC also do Village Banking such that he has already accumulated K120, 000. .

We finished the chat by going around his compound where he showed avocado, paw-paw, and masuku fruit trees that he planted to serve as snacks, breakfast and fruits after a meal in future. .

He has sugar cane close to home and in his dimba. .

He has also grown maize that he has planted 25 cm apart one plant per station, sweet potatoes which he kept on a nursery. .

He has also planted bananas, ground nuts and many others. .

All these he claimed to have learnt and re-enforced by Nzerunkudya radio programme. .

He also learnt that gender is love and he loves his family and assist with house chores when necessary. .

The Story Workshop Educational Trust (SWET) with funding from the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) through Department of School Health and Nutrition (SHN) under the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), Story Workshop Education Trust is implementing the school healthy and nutrition project in 40 selected primary schools with their surrounding communities in Malawi. .