Kemeru, 35, lives in a small village in Ethiopia, and is married with 8 children. Like many women in the village, her livelihood predominantly depended on basic agricultural practices.
“Life was somewhat difficult and we even couldn’t feed our children properly as we used to practise poor agricultural systems,” said Kemeru.
“We used to live hand to mouth, with no saving and no surplus production in our agriculture. As a result of this, we were exposed to extreme poverty. Our children were the main victims.”
“My fourth child, Abdella, had dropped out of school because he lacked a uniform and school supplies.” Adds Kemeru’s husband Temman. “He spent 1 year at home. Now he is a grade 7 student. He could have been at grade 8 by now, if we could afford to buy the school materials for him.”
Plan International Ethiopia, along with its local partners Hope for Children and government offices, introduced as VSLA to the village, and organised various self-help development training sessions to enable community members to change and improve their lives.
“I have got training on VSLA, poultry production, modern agricultural practices and modern bee hive productions,” says Kemeru. “Moreover I received 10 breeding hens from Plan International Ethiopia.”
“I am practising a modern agricultural system and also bee hiving. Previously I used the traditional way of producing honey, but recently we got 7 kilograms of honey from one bee hive, and sold it for around 350 Birr(USD17.05).”
VSLA group members are saving 10 birr (USD 0.5) per 15 days, and increased their savings by three birr (USD 0.15) after they got extra profit from the exchange of eggs from the modern hens.
“My 2 children are attending a Plan International-supported kindergarten in the village.” Says Kemeru. “The rest are learning at the primary school.
“We are a happy family, and we are striving to have a better future,” concluded Kemeru.