Goats Bring Hope to Jennifer's Family
In her own words, Jennifer Nalongo says her gift of 2 goats makes her feel like a million dollars. This single mother from the Masaka district in Uganda provides for her own 5 children, as well as eight nieces and four nephews who were orphaned when their fathers, Jennifer's brothers, died of AIDS. "How can a hopeless person like me become a millionaire within days?" she boasts when she talks about the transforming effects of her goats named Ssuubi and Nasuubi, which literally means "hope." Jennifer is not quite a millionaire, but it's the dramatic difference in her household income since Ssuubi and Nassuubi's arrival that inspires her enthusiasm.
The Ssuubis is truly the reason for Jennifer's new-found optimism. Her precious "Hope" has given a better focus and hope for the future to all the family. This means a new life. NIRP animals make a difference in the lives of all recipients. The names project beneficiaries give to their gifts are testament to their passion and connection with their animals. Other project recipients have given their animal gifts such powerful names as Blessing, Grace and Lucky.
Before Ssuubi and Nassuubi, Jennifer was struggling. She lives in her mother's house, and when the banana bunches produced by the family plantation became extremely small, the children suffered from malnutrition. In addition to bananas, Jennifer has worked hard to grow beans, peas and vegetables, but there has never been enough to sell for additional income. To earn money, she cooked food and sold baskets in the nearby trading centre. However, her efforts never yielded enough to have sufficient income to send the children to school.
When she learned about NIRP from a neighbor, Jennifer joined the Basooka Kwavula Womens Self Help Group. She received training on hygiene, sanitation, pasture establishment and management, food crop production, soil and water conservation, as well as shed construction. She says when she sees her hopeful goats, Ssuubis, entering the compound, "I have never been happier. When my brothers and their wives died, I lost hope, knowing that I would surely follow."
Ssuubis thrived under Jennifer's care. Nassuubi(female goat) bore 2 offspring in May 2010. The goats have not only provided food security for Jennifer and her family, but she also gives them a source of income. Nassuubi produces 6 liters of milk each day; 2 liters are consumed at home, providing a remedy for the children's malnutrition, and the surplus is sold for 500 shillings per liter, netting a profit of approximately 2,000 shillings each day, adding up to 60,000 shillings a month. The goats' manure has improved the fertility of the soil. Once producing too little, the banana plantation now produces more than enough, yielding plenty for both home consumption and surplus sales. "I now sell 20 bunches of matooke (bananas) every month at 6,000 shillings a bunch, from which I earn 120,000 shillings(Euro 40)," Jennifer says. The vegetables that Jennifer continues to grow have enriched her family's diet and nutritional status. And now with the enriched soil, there is a surplus of vegetables, which Jennifer sells to nearby communities and towns. Five bundles of vegetables each day are sold for 100 shillings each, bringing in 500 shillings each day, or 15,000(Euro 50) shillings per month.
The newfound abundance is overwhelming and makes Jennifer feel richer than ever before. She sees her income of 201,000 shillings (Euro 67) a month as a million dollars, because she has never earned that much money or even dreamed it would be possible.
Jennifer's success has influenced others in surrounding communities who have replicated her technological methods of banana management and vegetable growing and improved their standard of living. Jennifer's future plans include expanding her goat enterprise and banana plantation and purchasing additional land on which to plant more fodder and pastures. With expanded ventures and additional income, she will help her biological children and orphaned nieces and nephews complete school.
Jennifer and The goats have provided her family with tremendous hope and self-reliance. You can lift many more vulnerable families like Jennifer’s with an animal donation through online giving