What if chickens could change lives?
At Lengo Football Academy we play an active part in the health and wellbeing of our players that goes beyond daily football training. We consider it important to visit the families of our players to understand how the football academy exists alongside their education and family responsibilities.
On a recent visit to the home of Lengo player Elisha, our founder Emanuel Saakai and one of our Australian volunteers found a mother living on less than AU$2 a week and looking after four children on her own. Yasinta Lairumba is 39 years old and her husband passed away in 2009. He left her with four children, two girls (18 and 15) and twin boys (13). One of the twin boys has a severe physical and intellectual disability. In Tanzania they do not have the care facilities, support or resources that many us in the west take for granted. Therefore, her child does not have a wheelchair and requires round the clock care from family. This means Yasinta is unable to leave the home to earn an income.
Yasinta earns a living by helping other women in the community to wash their clothes, which earns her AU$2 a week. This is not enough to feed her family, let alone keep her children in school. Yasinta desperately wants her children to continue their education, and in the past has sold a cow and a sheep to pay for her daughters’ transition to secondary school. Now, 13 year-old Elisha is about to embark on secondary school at the time of our visit Yasinta did not have the money to purchase the items he requires, such as a uniform, books and shoes for his to continue his education.
After a lengthy discussion with the Yasinta and after conducting a needs impact assessment we identified that building a chicken coop and breeding chickens would be the perfect source of income for Yasinta. She had the land available and understood how to raise and breed chickens. She simply lacked the money to purchase what was needed to start this small business.
We notified some of our Lengo supporters in Australia about Yasinta’s situation and soon found a family to sponsor Yasinta and her family. With the money donated we built a chicken coop that now houses five chickens and a rooster. This gives Yasinta the income to feed, clothe and keep her children in school and will keep Elisha in school. Yasinta has big plans for her chicken coop and is aiming to grow her chicken business to 20 chickens within 6 months.
We have learned by working with our community that breeding chickens is one way that we can support our players to stay in school and eventually alleviate poverty. We read recently that even Bill Gates is giving away chickens as a way to alleviate poverty in Africa, so we must be onto something!
Therefore, we are proud to announce our new family sponsorship program where we match a sponsor family with a family in need in our community.
For AU$300 you can build a chicken coop like this one and help a family start a small business to support their children to stay in school and have enough to eat each week. We will share the family’s story with you and even send you photos as the chicken coop is being built!
This story is proof that one small act of kindness can change a family’s life in Tanzania. If you are interested please get in touch by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Roxanne Strauss