A Brand New Day for Margaret’s Family

Margaret Gwangara, a 20-year-old mother of two from Avado farm in Mazowe, Zimbabwe, is a participant in the Early Childhood Stimulation (ECS) program supported by the Bantwana Initiative of World Education Inc. under the DREAMS Innovation Challenge. The ECS program equips young mothers with positive parenting skills to promote the social, emotional, physical and cognitive development of their children. Due to lack of school fees, Margaret dropped out of school at an early age and was married soon after. Eager to further her education and support her young family, Margaret enrolled herself in the Part-Time Continuing Education Program offered by DREAMS IC. During the PTCE program, Margaret learned about the ECS intervention and was eager to equip herself with the necessary skills and knowledge to promote the growth and development of her children.

Margaret with her two children

Now with two children, Ratidzo (2 years) and Tatenda (7 months), Margaret attends the ECS sessions, and her supportive husband also often accompanies her because he recognizes the benefits the program has on their children. Because Margaret has participated in the Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission Program, fortunately, both of her children are HIV negative. Through support supervision visits from the CCW, Margaret continues to practice good parenting habits at home and regularly brings her children to the local clinic for check-ups. Now that Margaret has completed the curriculum across the 18 sessions of the ECS program, she realizes the positive changes in her relationship with her children, especially Ratidzo whom she observes as being more engaged and open around her.

“My daughter, Ratidzo, is no longer afraid of being around me or playing with me”

Through the ECS program, Margaret and her husband learned how to communicate and play with their children; how to prepare balanced meals; and good service-seeking behavior when their children fall ill. As part of the ECS curriculum, Margaret and other beneficiaries were trained on Internal Savings and Lending (ISALs) schemes and supported to form savings groups in order to build their household economic resilience. Using a loan from her savings group, Margaret and her husband started a fish production business which contributes to their family’s income and nutrition. Margaret’s husband appreciates the ECS program and how it has positively impacted their family.

“This program has brought happiness into our home. We are now playing with our children and we can support our family.”

Going forward, Margaret wishes to further strengthen their family business by acquiring more technical expertise in production and marketing. Leveraging on DREAMS Core activities, WEI/Bantwana will facilitate specific trainings on the various income generating activities for ECS DREAMS IC beneficiaries.

The DREAMS Innovation Challenge in Zimbabwe reaches pregnant adolescent girls and teen mothers with a holistic package of both prevention and response interventions to keep them in school.