Mduduzi Ngwenya is 15 years old. When he was six months old his father died. Soon thereafter, his mother died, leaving him in the care of Shadreck Ngwenya, his grandfather, who is now 84. They live in a the small village of Sizeze, which is not too far from Bulawayo, a major city in Zimbabwe. Being relatively close to a big city has been of no advantage to this small family, as it might as well be a million miles away - they have no transportation or money to get there.
Mduduzi wants to be a businessman and dreams of helping his grandfather. With little money and no income, this family was selected to be part of our Livelihoods Program and they received three female goats. One goat has given birth to a very healthy kid who is three months old. The family is milking the goat and they are getting an average of 350mls of milk per day, which was only a dream a few months ago. The milk volume will increase with the improvement of range and forage since the start of the rainy season, which is fabulous! They can sell any additioanl milk they can't drink, earning some money to pay for other things, like soap, blankets, school fees, and meat. They are using the manure in their maize plot with very good crop stand, making them hopeful that the yield will be enough to sustain them through the upcoming winter.
Their other two goats are at advanced stages of pregnancy, which will help to grow their flock. Since they are not allowed to butcher, sell, trade, or barter their animals for three years, they should have a decent sized flock growing by that time. When asked what this gift of goats meant ot him, Mduduzi said “the goats have made a great difference in my life. We drink milk now, which gives me strength, as well as to my grandfather. Now my friends respect me as a livestock owner. In the next few years, from the way things are going, I will soon be the proud owner of a big flock.” For a 15 year old, what could be better than respect from his peers? Thank you for helping us give this boy exactly what he needs, right now, to have hope in the future, friends!
Have you ever seen someone smile so hugely that you can't help but smile right along with them, even if you don't understand the words being spoken? Well, that happened to me not to long ago, while in Zimbabwe, thanks to you.
You see, some of the goats we've given away are having kids. Some give birth to twins and some to singletons, but each birth is welcome. Most celebrated are the female kids because it means that milk will continue to be provided for a family and that the flock will continue to grow.
I visited a family who wanted nothing more than to show me a brand new kid. And, no words were needed in order to feel the happiness felt by the owner of the baby female goat. The lady, who is raising 3 AIDS orphans, was so proud to show off the new little one and I thought you'd like to meet her, too.
Covenant Christian School in Harrisburg, PA raised funds to purchase three goats and a veterinary kit for children in Zimbabwe. While the kids had the option to pay a dollar in order to wear jeans to school one day, many chose to donate much more and they surpassed their goal!
Here's a note received from Mr. Khumalo, who presented three pregnant female goats to two boys and the veterinary kit to a veterinary assistant trained in by our program. "The goats were given to the orphans, Gabriel, a boy aged sixteen and his brother, Gibon, aged twelve. They come from Sizeze village. Their mother died in 2005 and they are currently staying with their sickly and unemployed father. The boys say, "it is great to know that there are children who care about us who can go an extra mile to an extent of giving us the life-changing gift of goats. We can't wait to have our own herd and to always have milk to drink".
The veterinary kit was presented to Yekelani Ncube, a trained veterinary assistant who is working hard to assist orphan families. He also comes from Sizeze.
Thank you for making donation that affect children like Gabriel and Gibon - you are changing their lives and giving them a future.
We are so grateful for the donations you've given towards this project!
A 12-year old girl, Promise, who is being looked after by an elderly woman named Roda Dube received two female rabbits from AFCA. Promise says she loves the rabbits and since they received the rabbits, she now has something exciting to look forward to when she comes home. She has been learning how to take care of her animals and has learned to take them to the community leader where male rabbits are housed in order to control breeding.
Already, her rabbits have had babies and her family has re-gifted two to another family, just four months after initially receiving her gift. Now, any rabbits born are hers to keep, to sell, to eat, or to barter. The manure is used in a small garden she, her siblings and Ms. Dube have planted using AFCA seeds. The bunnies benefit from some of the greens while the children and Ms. Dube benefit from carrots, turnips, spinach, onions, tomatoes, peanuts, and other veggies they are growing and harvesting.
Truly, Promise's life has changed thanks to your generosity.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
We have no other words.
On behalf of Promise and the other children you've helped,
While in Zimbabwe this summer, we decided to incorporate small, personal gardens into the overall project to help 400 families who are suffering from food insecurity. We visited 24 families who were selected to be part of this pilot project and took at look at their current gardens. What we found is that while the families have the good sense to know that they need to be growing their own veggies, they don't always have the ability to purchase seeds or the knowledge of how to grow a garden in arid areas.
This is where Mr. Ncube walked in - he is a dear Zimbabwean friend who is also an avid gardener with a heart of gold. He took it upon himself to properly train the grannies and children who head up the households so that they learn conservation farming, perfect in areas with little rain. We purchased seeds and held trainings. Now, two months later, veggies are sprouting up and families are getting excited.
Foliage goes to their animals. Veggies are for the family members. Manure from the animals feeds the garden. Thick, thick mulch protects the earth and little plants from the harsh sun and keeps moisture in. What a simple, but life-changing project!
As we continue to move forward, our plans are to expand this project in 2013 because we've already seen what is possible. When we have hard facts of how the veggies are helping livestock and humans, we'll grow this program to include as many families as we can.
Thank you for being part of this, friends. You are truly giving hope and life to many folks in desperate situations. Don't hesitate to tell others about this great project and to ask them to support it as well.
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