Meet Regina Muhehe
It was always the same. By April of each year, Regina Muhehe’s hard-won harvest—the result of long hours of hard labor on her farm— would run out. “I was never able to grow enough to feed my family for the entire year,” Regina says.
Regina Muhehe is a 53 year-old single mother with six children and five grandchildren. She lives in Ihimbo village, in Iringa, Tanzania. Despite her hard work, Regina’s harvests were always meager. Though she owned four acres of land, the one acre she farmed would only yield three or four bags of maize.
“In my village, we depend on agriculture. Yet my harvests were never enough to pay for my children’s schooling or medical bills. Sometimes I could hardly afford to put meat or fish on our table,” Regina says.
Though ambitious and hardworking, it was difficult for Regina to raise her children and grandchildren with the threat of hunger always looming. In addition to growing maize, she also planted peas on a half-acre of land, sold traditional beer, and worked on other peoples’ land as a casual laborer. But no matter how much time and energy she invested, it was never enough.
Regina also struggled with the lack of electricity in her home. “I used to spend 3,000 Tanzanian shillings every week to fuel my lamp with kerosene,” she says. “I used my lamp for cooking, and my children used it at night for their studies.” When Regina couldn’t afford to buy kerosene, she would have to buy it on credit, or do household chores in a thick darkness.
Reaching Her Goals for Her Family
When One Acre Fund expanded its programs in her village in 2014, Regina realized that her chance had come to make a change for her family. She enrolled with One Acre Fund, and received maize seed and improved fertilizer on credit. She used these inputs and the information she learned in One Acre Fund trainings to plant her half-acre of land. Regina also purchased a solar lamp on credit, which allowed her to save money she would have otherwise spent on kerosene.
In her very first season with One Acre Fund, Regina harvested very well. She produced more than enough to feed her family for the year, and earned an additional 310,000 Tanzanian Shillings from selling her surplus maize at market.
“I had never earned such money from my harvest, ever!” Regina said. “Everybody in the neighborhood was surprised by how big the maize cobs were in my fields. It was incredible!”
The income she earned from selling her harvest surplus enabled Regina to pay for her daughter Dafroza and her son Emmanuel to complete their schooling. Dafroza, 20, just received her teaching certificate, and Emmanuel, 25, is a trained nurse.
“I am very excited that I managed to send two of my children to college. Now my mind is at peace because I know my other children will not be troubled by the school management due to the lack of school fees.”
The solar lamp Regina acquired from One Acre Fund also contributed to her savings. “Now, I don’t buy kerosene anymore because my solar lamp provides us with full light at night. Also, my phone battery is always full since I charge it from my solar panel anytime the battery goes down.”
Dafroza appreciates her mother’s decision to join One Acre Fund. “I thank my mother so much for joining this program. I would not have been able to complete my studies if she didn’t pay my tuition for this last term. Her maize harvest gave us the resources we needed.”
Dafroza’s older sister, Jestina, 30, is also appreciative. After seeing Regina’s strong harvest, she chose to follow in her mother’s footsteps and enroll with One Acre Fund as well.
This season, Regina plans to increase the acreage she plants with One Acre Fund. She wants to double her harvest in order to increase her surplus. She also plans to invest in livestock, productive assets that will pay dividends for years to come. With the extra incomes she earns, Regina’s goal is to see the rest of her children and grandchildren complete their schooling.
“I love One Acre Fund because it is so helpful.” Regina says. “With what I produced from just a half-acre of maize, I was able to educate my children. With One Acre Fund, I feel I can achieve my goals for the future.”