Today's CARE Package: Virginia's Story

Today's CARE Package: Virginia's Story

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The original CARE Package© was created in 1945 to provide desperately needed food to survivors of war-torn Europe.

Today, CARE delivers lasting change by helping communities grow and sustain nutritious food in some of the most challenging environments in the world.

In Mozambique, Virginia Mucandze, 45, is a woman who rises to challenges. Virginia’s family depends on subsistence farming as the main source of food and income, but her agricultural production is increasingly threatened by the effects of climate change. Without a formal job and with no support from family, Virginia managed to obtain two small plots to cultivate maize, beans and cassava. She started and has helped to develop Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLAs) so that women like her can save, borrow and invest in improving their farms and crops.

“Being a VSLA promoter has saved my life,” Virginia said. “As a promoter, you can forget about your own problems a bit as you need to think of the group and community in general. The failure of one group member affects the whole group, so it’s important that we work collectively. It makes me very happy when I see people improve their lives.”

Because climate change had made her own subsistence farming difficult, Virginia joined a farmer field school through CARE to learn new conservation practices. Though the lack of rain in Mozambique remains a challenge, her soil health is improving and allowing her to produce more food even during severe droughts.

During the last planting season, Virginia also treated her cashew trees and vaccinated her chickens for the first time. CARE training also taught her more about the importance of diet diversity to her family’s health.

Adaptation, hard work, determination and collaboration have become a way of life for Virginia. She was so empowered by her newfound knowledge and skills, she recently returned to school – 30 years after dropping out – to improve her reading and writing skills so she can better serve her family and community.

“Today, we know the right way of cultivating our fields, how to save and use the money we earn wisely, how to improve our cashew production and how to be respected as women in our communities,” Virginia said.