Razia became desperate as her family slipped further into poverty. None of her children were in school, their clothes were in tatters and they had to go so far as to borrow plates and pans from neighbors just to prepare a basic meal.

Razia resorted to witchcraft for a quick fix– consulting witches on how to get money to support her family. She began viewing her hardworking neighbors as enemies because according to the witches, her neighbors were bewitching her to remain poor. The more she went to the witches, the more they took of the little she had, including her dresses and money.

Finally, she decided to rent out their land to anyone willing to pay them with either food or money. The families who rented their land always had very big harvests. But while they made more money, Razia was busy borrowing from different sources to feed her family. She was constantly suffering from ulcers and hypertension due to stress.

Razia and her husband quarrelled constantly because they had no food, and his health was deteriorating to the point he rarely left home anymore. She kept going to the witches thinking they would cure him but nothing improved until she met Pastor Ipolito, who shared the Gospel with her, and she gave her life to Christ.

Their church prayed for them and their health improved. They even began getting involved in the church ministry. However, the biggest change of all happened when Razia and Godfrey went through Bright Hope’s asset-based community development program.

By the time the trainings were done, they knew they could use their land to achieve more than the small amount of money paid by those who rented plots or even the little food they were giving them.

Determined to work, Razia began tilling the land. Her first success was from the 44 pounds of beans she was given by Bright Hope through the church. They prepared their land for the beans as the entire community was still in shock to see them going to the garden. Everyone knew them as the lazy family, but their lives had turned around.

When harvesting season began, the couple reaped 440 pounds of beans and they never went hungry again. They were able to get their youngest child back in school and sustain their income just through agriculture.

“We realized that our poverty was caused by the poor mind-set we had,” she said.

“We never wanted to get involved into work and expected people to give us. Instead they exploited us by using our land and giving us very little from it.”

Now Razia and Godfrey have a better marriage, their only regret is not doing the training sooner.

“For all those years, it is like a cloth was wrapped around my brain and Bright Hope unwrapped it with this knowledge,” she said.

“I thank God for whatever we have learnt [and] I feel like our life has just begun.”

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