Albertina is one of the many women whose lives have been changed and empowered by the gift of goats. The womens' goat group provides support alongside the milk and extra income made possible by the goats themselves.
Albertina is 51 years old and has lived in Chikondwelelo, Zambia all her life. She has 11 grandchildren and sometimes when one of her children needs to leave the village in search of work, she looks after up to 7 at a time.
Prior to ChildFund’s arrival Albertina described herself and fellow goat group members as being ”beggars in our own village. People looked down on us as useless, widows and caregivers”.
She used to spend her time cutting and drying grass, which is used to roof huts, and then sold it in bundles at the side of the road. She could go days at a time without making any money at all. There was never any money for medicine, vegetables, school uniforms or books and she would struggle to buy enough maize meal to feed herself and her grandchildren.
In 2009, Albertina's life changed for the better.
As part of ChildFund New Zealand’s livelihoods programme, Albertina and a group of nine other women were selected to receive goats. Each woman was given 4 goats on the understanding that they would pass on the first 4 kids to other women. Albertina now has 24 goats that provide her and her grandchildren with milk, in addition to a source of steady income.
In June 2011, Albertina sold 10 of her goats and used the money to start growing maize. Every morning she collects the dung from below the goat shed and uses it to fertilize her maize fields. This year she managed to harvest over 60 bags of maize and sold 50. In June 2012, Albertina sold 4 more goats and bought 6 sheets of metal so that she can now have a waterproof roof.
“Without the goats and support from ChildFund I would not have moved forward with my life. I would still be poor and my grandchildren sick. I now have enough to feed, clothe and get medicine for them. I enjoy getting up in the morning and working as I know that my life now is so happy and I am proud”, says Albertina.
Albertina and the other women in her group are a very tight knit group. They support each other in many ways and have formed a team to be reckoned with. They all agreed with Albertina when she said “people now come to us for help and advice. We like to help other women in our village as we know how difficult it is”.
To find out more about ChildFund's work in Zambia, please visit the Zambia country page. You can help children in need in Zambia by sponsoring a child.