Valentine’s Day: Concern’s 3 favorite stories to warm your heart

February 14, 2018
Photo by Gareth Bentley

For Valentine’s Day Concern brings you just a few of the many stories of love we see every day in our work.

For Valentine’s Day, we are bringing you 3 of our favorite stories that will re-affirm your belief in love. Each day, we see stories of love: from the mother who travels long distances on foot for her son, to the husband who undergoes training on gender issues to become a more supportive and loving partner.

Chibala and Catherine

Chibala and Catherine are a married couple in Zambia, who are turning gender norms completely on their head — and all in the name of love! In Zambia, men are viewed as the heads of their household. And so, like many women here, Catherine spent all of her time taking care of children, cooking, cleaning, and planting crops — without her husband’s help. But not anymore! Chibala has attended a gender training as part of Concern’s RAIN program. Chibala says he “learned to help his wife”, and can now be seen by her side in the fields, or with his child bundled on his back: a rare sight in Zambia. “Working together has made our love deeper,” Chibala says, as Catherine breaks into a wide smile.

Chibala cooks for his wife Catherine

Chibala, 55, cooks at his home in May 2014 in Zambia with his wife Catherine, 43. Through gender awareness training, part of Concern’s RAIN program he has now ‘learned to help’ his wife. Photo: Gareth Bentley

Beauty Mbewe

Not all love is romantic — and you don’t have to look further than Beauty Mbewe to see that. In Malawi, Concern’s Skillz Girls program teaches young people about sexual health and life skills. But it also helps young women build friendships and play sports. Beauty now loves playing football with girls that are just like her. “Here in the Skillz Girls team, I have found friends.”

Beauty Mbewe and her two friends in Malawi

Beauty Mbewe, age 13, Diolinda Fernando, 13 and Esther Banda, 13 are part of Concern Worldwide’s Skillz Girls programme and love playing football with other girls like her.

Khalid Hassan

Khalid Hassan recites poetry

Khalid Hassan reciting his poetry. Hassan says that writing has always been one of his passions and now serves as an outlet for his emotions. Photo: Masha Hamilton

For Khalid, writing poetry is his first love. But when war broke out in Syria, Khalid fled to Lebanon, where months of living as a refugee took its toll. Khalid stopped writing. “I have always written, since I was a child,” he said. “Writing is my love, my outlet. Before, I would often read a story I had written aloud to my family. Sometimes we would laugh together or cry together. After the crisis, I felt as if my hands were cut off.” But that all changed, when Khalid attended a men’s group, sponsored by Concern. The project is the first of its kind, and offers the support that many male refugees so desperately need. And for Khalid, it reignited the flame of his biggest passion. After one meeting, he picked up his pen again. “Our men’s group had a good discussion that lasted four hours,” he recalled. “Afterwards, I felt human again. And feeling human — that is what allowed me to write.” 

Concern the goat: A Valentine’s Day Bonus!

Sometimes, even our animals also want to join in spreading the love. You might have heard of Casanova, but now Concern the goat has joined some of the world’s most legendary lovers. Concern’s legend may not have spread as widely as others, but when we met him in Zambia a few years ago, his stock was high among the lady goats of Western Province. A fine strapping lad, he hailed from outside stock and was employed by our program team to help beef up the genes of the local population. A tough job… but someone’s got to do it! This image of Concern was captured at the end of a long, hot day.

A goat named Concern relaxes after a long day of work

Concern the goat cools his heels on a hot day. Photo: Gareth Bentley