The earthquake displaced over 3 000 people in the district after damaging property worth millions of kwacha.
After assessing the impact of the calamity, ActionAid was drawn to KabagheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s predicament. She and her three orphaned grandchildren were homeless after their house collapsed due to the impact of the earthquake. She was left with nothing to support her family.
“My brick and corrugated iron-roofed house was torn apart, destroying all my property.
“When kasenyenda (local name for earthquake) struck me, I thought I could no longer look after my grandchildren. My days looked like were numbered,” said a smiling Kabaghe, during the handover ceremony of the house in Group Village Headman MwandisiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s area.
She described the new house as a turning point in her life.
“Only God in heaven can thank ActionAid for committing their resources, energy and time to rehabilitate my soul,” Kabaghe added.
Jitters gripped the spines of neighbours who rushed to see for themselves what had befallen Kabaghe soon after the accident, glorifying God that the victims escaped unhurt.
Kabaghe could only recall that she and her grandchildren, a boy and two girls, were standing metres away from their destroyed house on that fateful day.
All she had left were torn pieces of clothes and blankets which well-wishers pulled from the rubble. The old woman had no option but to seek shelter in a small mud and grass-thatched kitchen belonging to one of the villagers.
Kabaghe, who has since the disaster been surviving on food handouts, could be mistaken for being dumb as she could hardly pluck energy to express her gratitude to ActionAid when it made a pledge to support her.
She almost collapsed with excitement when the organisation said it was going to build her a permanent house.
District progamme manager for ActionAid in Chitipa, Kingsley Mambulasa, says the non-governmental organisation (NGO) put aside K400 000 (about $2 395) for the construction of KabagheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s house from the K1.5 million (about $8 982) it committed to the procurement of foodstuffs and household items which were distributed to earthquake victims in the area.
The lucky old lady is now the proud owner of a three bed-roomed house.
“When ActionAid Country Management Team learned about KabagheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s pathetic situation, through a report from ActionAid in Chitipa, it directed that she be helped with a new permanent shelter,” said ActionAid regional coordinator for the North, Wezi Moyo.
Moyo said her organisation opted for construction of a house to ensure the safety of the children who were more vulnerable to abuse without shelter.
The ActionAid gesture, however, is one of complementary efforts to government as it strives to ensure the safety of the children. Malawi is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC), which government ratified in 1991.
Drafted in 1924 by Eglantyre Jebb, founder of Save the Children, and built on human rights, the CRC emphasises on child protection because it looks at children as a group which is voiceless, powerless and, therefore, vulnerable.
A house project executed by ActionAid for Kabaghe and her grandchildren is an implementation of one of crucial CRC Pillars, the Protection Pillar, which emphasises on the need to protect children from abuse.
One of the statements in the pillar which directly relates to children reads: Ã¢â‚¬ËœSome children, like orphans, displaced children, street children, refugees, disabled children, child workers and delinquent children need more protection because they have landed in circumstances which expose them to extreme risks of abuse because their rights have been robbed.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢