A gift of goats transforms life for Samuel

Samuel Fred with his wife and the house where he keeps his goats in the village of Fombe
Samuel Fred with his wife and the house where he keeps his goats in the village of Fombe

Since he received two goats through a Christian Aid project 34-year-old Samuel Fred says his life and that of his four children has been transformed.

He described how life in Fombe, Chikwawa had been ‘unbearable’.

“We were greatly affected by climate change and disasters caused by drought, floods and strong wind. We were clueless about what we should do,” the farmer explained.

“I would have gone looking for manual labour, but what I was getting was too little to take care of my family. Life was unbearable and I don’t know how I survived until the day Christian Aid arrived here.”

Christian Aid’s partner in Chikwawa is Eagles which has initiated a savings and loans scheme in the area so people are able to borrow money to get started in their own small farming enterprises.

Prior to that Samuel had been borrowing from family or friends but the repayment rates were too expensive. With the new scheme they are able to borrow money at a small interest rate and to save. As the irrigation scheme got underway and harvests were good he was able to get into the routine of saving money every year.

“In 2015 I was given two goats by Christian Aid and nine months later I was able to pass on that gift to other people,” said Samuel.

“I was trained how to look after the livestock and to care for the goats and how to vaccinate them. I received my training from a vet through Christian Aid. Since then life has been different,” he added.

Samuel is involved in irrigation farming and a stove working group which produces safer and more efficient stoves for cooking. He is also involved in the fish pond project, breeding fish. They are also planting trees throughout the year in a bid to offset the effects of climate change.

He added: “Looking to the future I am providing for my children by saving with the village bank scheme. If anything happens to me my wife is my proxy so she would be able to take care of the children.

“I also see a positive future through the goats. I have a minimum of 10 goats and I am able to make a lot of money through them. I intend in the future to buy cows with the money I earn from the goats. If I sell a goat I can make £35. To buy a cow costs between £70 to £100.

“Long term I am thinking of buying cows, because I think that is the future for my children,” added Samuel.