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Amanda Mamase, 31

Single mother of seven: 26, 23, 20, 16, 13, 11 & 7

Lives in Khayelitsha, Cape Town

In my community they respect me too much now because they can see how far I have come and where I am today.

Before TCB my life was horrible because my kids used to go to school without having their lunchboxes. The teachers gave them food and even school uniforms. They used to give them the old shoes because theirs’ were open. I was selling chicken feet so I can put something on the table so they can eat at night.

I was not a real mother because I couldn’t manage their needs. When they were sleeping I used to cry because I don’t know what I’m going to cook for them the next morning. I was so thin because sometimes I didn’t share for me so they can eat and then I only just drink coffee and go to sleep.

Now I am successful because I managed to do my things, pay my school fees, feed my kids, buy them clothes. And I can save money. Women at school used to send lunchboxes to my child. Now I always buy presents for their kids on their birthdays. The mothers always say, ‘You don’t have to,’ and then I say, ‘No, I want to