Her twins give her twice the inspiration to fight on

Securing child support for her twins and along with it capital to start her own small business allows Elizabeth Mgaya of Njombe to have the confidence she once lost and plan for her future with renewed hope.





“I had twins back in 2017 in Mufindi and went through a very difficult time that forced me to leave their father when the twins were only one week old. My parents didn’t know him and when I told them what he was putting me through, they immediately asked me to return home;

“Even back home, life wasn’t smooth-sailing and whenever I called him for help, he repeatedly retorted that, I had chosen to leave him and for that reason he didn’t want to be involved in anything about me. Furthermore, he claimed he wasn’t the babies’ father,”

These are the words of Elizabeth Mgaya, a young but determined mother in Njombe. We visited her at her tea shop on Kambarage Street, where she told us her life today is a far cry from what it was less than two years ago.

At around 11 o’clock when we walked into her shop, the last breakfast punters had already left, and her assistant was in the kitchen next putting final touches on lunch meals.

We were in the company of Geoffrey Kaduma, the paralegal who helped Elizabeth throughout her ordeal, and he told us that, after she figured that the burden of care for the twins was becoming unbearable, she sought the intervention of the local village chair.




The chair seeing that, the matter required legal pursuit immediately called Kaduma and referred her to the paralegal office.


“The case rested on the issue of child maintenance and for that, we arranged for the twins’ father to come in. I informed him that, due to the fact that, he didn’t live with Elizabeth and the babies, he would be required to put down an amount of money that she could use as capital to start up some form of income-generating business, and in addition to that agree to pay for house help. He accepted and we put everything in writing,” Kaduma told us.

Elizabeth, however, told us that, he provided her with Tsh.500,000 as capital, but failed on Tsh.90,000, which he had indicated he would send her for house help. She said, she used some of the capital to buy seeds and planted Irish potatoes and also sold slippers.

“Things began to pick up pace, and honestly, I didn’t want to bother him and simply wanted to focus on my life and my babies. After a while, I opened this tea shop, and I can even say I’m looking much better compared to the skinny woman I was. He has on several occasions tried to persuade me to return to him but no, I’m on a different course now and I don’t want anything to do with him,” she said with a beaming smile.




She further told us that, she now earns enough to save and even support her parents, aiming to start building her own house later in the year. She informed us also that, her sister who also runs an eatery in the town has advised her to expand her businesss and move into larger premises, which she has agreed to do in time.

Bryson Mgaya, the local village chair to whom Elizabeth ran for help told us that, such incidents have been common, but as leaders they bear the responsibility to ensure that, women are protected from such vices and if they occur then culprits must be brought to bear and provide for the women and children.

“The rights of women as mothers and of children are paramount; if we fail to act we will generate a society with single mothers and street children whose futures are at best hopeless,” he added.

“My word of advice to other women, who have worn my shoes is to be determined and committed to turning their lives around. Paralegals such as these that operate here are accessible and have been a formidable source of encouragement and help to me; there’s no reason to lose hope because help is available free of charge,” concluded Elizabeth.

This is yet another example of one resolute woman, who stumbled but didn’t fall. Elizabeth could have given up and ended up elsewhere, but her fortunes have been turned around because she received legal aid at a crucial juncture in her life.

Her twins are now two happy toddlers running around her backyard and playing with no care in the world. With remarkable endings like this LSF’s Access to Justice Program proves to be a lifeline to many women, who the broader society may perceive to be at the end of their line, but are in fact able to bounce back all because the hand of justice reached out to them in time and provided them with a springboard.

Today Elizabeth is not just a statistic but a living inspiration to thousands of other women up and down the country who are using accessible legal aid to escape the clutches of poverty.