Have you ever thought about what you can buy with $160 dollars? A low-end Keurig coffee maker? A budget vacuum cleaner? Netflix for eight months? A dinner out for a family of five?
When you start crunching the numbers, $160 doesn’t really seem to go that far.
Unless, of course, you’re talking about a FH Dairy Cow.
With a $160 Dairy Cow, Patrick built a better house, piped water to his home, installed biogas energy to cook and run lights, fertilized his crops to increase his harvest, bought a motorcycle to transport fresh milk to market, and so much more!
Patrick is a smallholder farmer living in the rural community of Nashisa, Uganda. He’s responsible for supporting his wife and nine children. There are no circumstances under which this would be an easy task! But in Nashisa, Patrick faced challenges particular to a developing community. Lack of infrastructure, poor government support, inaccessible healthcare, lack of clean water, discouraged leadership, and few income-generating options to name just a few. “Things were very difficult,” Patrick shares. “Life was full of hopelessness; we were financially handicapped. We were ‘nobodies’ who mostly survived on one meal a day. Since FH came to our community, however, that was the beginning of transformation.”
Through participation in FH activities, Patrick and his wife Egulance got a new perspective on their personal value and their communal potential. The workshops they attended included the dairy program, biogas technology, agro-ecology practices, and Savings and Loans. When they received a dairy cow from FH, they were overjoyed and named her “Canada.” “This always keeps me remembering friends in Canada,” Patrick smiles. “I love this cow.”
Patrick reflects on how FH programs like the Dairy Cow have transformed his community. “We started to work together as a family. We started to value our spouses and attend church. I adopted new agriculture techniques and both my dairy and crop farming benefit from each other. I use the animal’s waste to make manure and I feed my cows with remains of crops like maize straw, banana peels, and leaves. I have been taught to mulch and intercrop in my farming hence the increase in my yields.”
From the one cow Patrick received from a Gift Guide purchase in 2015, he managed to give away two calves to neighbours in need. The mother cow has continued to calve regularly, and from her milk sales he bought a new cow. To date, Patrick’s small herd has grown to six cows. Experiencing such success has motivated him to think outside the box when it comes to supporting his large family. For example, with the increased income from dairy and produce sales Patrick purchased a plot of land and built a bigger house whose additional rooms he rents out to further boost their income.
Patrick and Egulance’s nine children are healthier than ever. No longer malnourished as a result of the fresh milk and improved diet their father provides, they are attending school and helping out at home.
“Today we have achieved a lot due to FH programs,” Patrick says. “These changes make me feel better and encouraged. I smile sometimes when I see how far we have come. It is difficult to even recognize my community and my life from the past 10 years. I have seen myself sleep in better housing and be able to provide for my family. FH has greatly empowered me and my community. It has supported our development plans and worked with us to transform my community and our families. Much appreciation to Canadian friends for their support; today, we are thriving because of this partnership.”