45-year-old Grace used to live in a small village called Mwalija with her husband and four children. The
village is situated in a very low-lying area of Chikwawa next to the Shire, Malawi’s largest river. The family
were forced to flee when the fast-flowing water swamped their home in the middle of the night.
She said when the floods came, she tried to seek refuge at a nearby island. “It was around 3am, we were
asleep then we realized the water was coming inside the house. We all ran for our lives to the island, we
left everything in the house.”
On the island, Grace and her family were joined by almost 400 people who had also escaped the flooding. They were all completely surrounded by water, so they had to be rescued by boat. Whilst waiting to be rescued, Grace was carrying her youngest child on her back and another child on her shoulders. Her husband carried the other two children. They waited there the whole day with no food or water before anyone came to help.
Once they had been rescued, they were moved on to Kasisi camp about two kilometers away from
Mwalija. That night, some people slept in the courtyard of the camp and others – including Grace and her
family – stayed with relatives who hosted them.
Grace said she stayed with her relatives from the day she fled her village, up until the day she received
ShelterBox aid. When talking about receiving the aid she said: “We were very happy to now have our own place to stay”. Not only did the ShelterKit give them back some privacy, Grace added that it made a difference to their family life, smiling broadly she said: “It means that my husband and I can live together as man and wife again.”
As well as having shelter, Grace was also pleased with the other aid items she was given. She explained
how the kitchen set now meant she had pots to cook with and warm water to wash the children.
The area the family live in is now on higher ground away from the river.