Mary Mwanga is the 51-year-old matriarch of a large family, many of whom are involved in the RecycloCraftz handbag program (see the bios of her daughters Ireen, Karren, Wendy, and Christabel Chilangwa.) Her husband passed away in 2007. At that time, his family clan enacted a Zambian practice known as “property grabbing”, leaving his widow and children with almost nothing in their home. They moved from their village of Mufulira to the city of Lusaka, hoping for a better life there – but little improved.
Since the move to Lusaka, Mary Mwanga and her family have had no steady income. At times, they have been unable to pay for basic costs of living, such as rent and electricity. School fees for her children became a luxury. Some of her older children were unable to finish high school.
Thanks to RecycloCraftz, Mary Mwanga and her family have hope! She and 4 of her daughters all make handbags, pitching in to help one another if one falls behind or gets sick. The income they bring in helps keep a roof over their heads and the lights on. It also pays for the school fees for the younger children: her 16 year old with big dreams, Ireen, and some of her sons.
Right now, the widow Mary shoulders the burden of caring for a family that includes her own children, some of their babies, a couple of orphans, and her aged mother back in her home village. Mary Mwanga and her family dream of a place to call their own. The income she and her daughters bring in from the RecycloCraftz project is enabling them to build their own home – where they will no longer have to spend so much money each month paying rent. RecycloCraftz turns trash into handbags, and Mary turns handbags into cement for her family’s home. Each month she and her daughters can sell handbags is another building block of their future – the literal blocks of cement in their home‘s walls, the blocks of education for her younger children, and the blocks of spiritual encouragement for a destitute and struggling family.
Pray for Mary and her large family – for a physical home as well as spiritual shelter. One handbag can make so much of a difference for them!