Twelve-year-old Bertha is a registered child who lives in Kanjanja village of Kavuma area in Nyimba District. Both her parents are small-scale farmers and together they have five children. A few years ago, their livelihood and economic status were not good, as the little income they earned from the few bags of grain they harvested and sold was not enough to provide for the family.
As if going to school on an empty stomach was not bad enough for little Betha, at times, she would be chased from school for not paying up her school fees –something that made her terribly sad.
“My parents could only afford to provide us with one meal in a day, and that was only supper. In the morning I had to go to school on an empty stomach”, says Bertha. “[Because of hunger], my stomach made funny noises and my friends used to laugh at me so much that I wished I could just stop going to school.”
Today, Bertha tells a different story. Things changed for Bertha and her family in 2018 when World Vision intervened with a livelihoods programme in the area. Through this programme, Bertha’s mother, Grace, received training from World Vision in livestock farming, and later received five goats as part of a goats pass-on livestock scheme.
Grace says the pass-on project has brought so much change to her family, as a lot of things have improved in their lives. She says worrying about what to eat or how to provide for her children’s school needs is now a thing of the past, as she can afford to provide for her family through the gift of goats and knowledge imparted to her by World Vision.
“I ensured that I took very good care of the goats I was given so that they could reproduce. After a year, I passed on five goats too to another family and remained with 12 goats”, she says. “The 12 I remained with continued to increase in numbers. I was able to sell a few, and used some of the money to put food on the table for my family.”
Currently, Grace owns 22 goats, and with support from her husband, has recently managed to sell five goats, from which she realised an income of K5000 ($278). “I used a part of the money to settle the children’s school bills and buy food for the family”, she says with confidence. From the income earned, Grace has also diversified by rearing chicken, which she has also been able to sell to the community and at the same time reserved a few for family consumption.
“The same goats that were passed on to me have transformed our family as we can earn an income of about K12,000 ($667) in three months”, she says. “We will never again go to bed on empty stomachs.”
World Vision, through the goats pass-on project, has supported over 600 vulnerable families with goats which have continued to multiply and benefit many more families to overcome poverty. Bertha’s family is one of many families in the community whose lives have been improved and transformed with support from World Vision.
“I have received so much support from World Vision and our lives have been transformed", says Bertha. "I no longer go to school on an empty stomach because we afford to at least have all three meals in a day. I stopped worrying about being chased from school because I know my parents have been empowered and they can provide all my school necessities.”
By Agatha Mali - Communications Officer, Zambia