Monday, October 3, 2011

Goats are changing lives

Written by Krystle Praestiin, ADRA Malawi Intern

Emily with one of her goats
When Emily and her four children met ADRA Malawi’s WEP2 (Women Empowerment Project Phase 2) staff she had just left her abusive husband after a violent clash caused her to miscarriage.

At the time the now completed WEP2 project was implementing a goat bank program. Emily was identified by her community as a woman in need of help so she received one goat from ADRA. (Goats in Malawi are very valuable because they provide families with security and income as they continue to reproduce.)

Emily also became an active member of other programs that ADRA was introducing to her village including: joining a Village Savings and Loans (VSL) group, Functional Adult Literacy (FAL) class and an energy saving stoves making group.

Since her involvement Emily has reared several goats and currently has five. Emily plans to sell a few of her goats to help her put iron sheets on her newly built house- for which she sold 2 goats. Her involvement in the VSL group and her ability to sell goats has helped her provide her family with basic needs like: clothing, school fees, school stationary, hygiene products and food. 
Emily with her familiy outside her new home

Being part of the VSL group has also provided her with income to start a small business selling drinks which also contributes to her ability to take care of her family and aging mother. Emily hopes that as ADRA continues working in her village through its new project (Enhanced Livelihoods through Gender Empowerment) that she will be able to receive some business management training so she can develop a more viable business in the future.

Emily is a role model to her community. Through her hard work in rearing goats and actively participating in development activities she shows people the benefits that come from her involvement.

At home her family has confidence in her ability to care for them and they are proud of her achievements. They are also encouraged to work hard because they have learnt that hard work makes anything possible. Emily is no longer afraid and worried because she knows where to go to get money for help. Emily also looks at life differently because all that she has learnt has given her a hope for the future.
Emily & her goats

Learning to read, write and do basic sums for example, has increased her confidence and skill levels. Emily can now read basic sentences, keep records for her business and of her transactions in the VSL groups. Her involvement in Functional Adult Literacy Classes has taught her the value of education and she does all she can to encourage her children to continue in their studies because she wants them to have a chance at succeeding in life

Her education has also allowed her to become a trainer of trainers for other women interested in being involved in VSL groups, this will ensure that more women like her will be able to benefit from this program well after ADRA Malawi has left. It is our hope that stories like hers will become common place.

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