Sponsored Ugandans persevere with poultry project
March 16, 2011
From left, Anthony and Lawrence care for the poultry at their farm in
Uganda. The two friends started raising poultry to pay for Anthony's
way through college so both he and Lawrence could attend.
As children growing up together in the same neighborhood in Uganda, 24-year-old Anthony and 23-year-old Lawrence are bound by friendship. They have stood in solidarity with each other to face life's most trying moments.
Anthony, the firstborn in his family of five, was raised by a single mother, a subsistence farmer. She struggled to pay for his education, but often Anthony missed out on school because his mother could not afford school fees.
Lawrence was an only child whose father abandoned him when his mother fell ill and died. His aged maternal grandmother raised him. School fees were hard to come by, and Lawrence often skipped classes.
"We would sit together as children, Lawrence and I, and share our dreams and hopes with each other, but the circumstances surrounding us crushed our spirits," Anthony said.
Both boys attended the same local church and heard about CFCA. They visited the CFCA office and applied for sponsorship. Both were enrolled in the Hope for a Family program, which covered their primary education school fees and school supplies.
Working their way through school
In high school, the boys needed to raise money to complement the sponsorship assistance.
"During school holidays, we would take up manual labor such as working on people's farms for pay and helping out at construction sites," Lawrence said.
Anthony's mother allowed the boys to cultivate maize, beans and cassava (a root plant similar to yams) on her land. Money from the harvests covered some of the living expenses, enabling the boys to save some of their sponsorship benefit.
After completing high school, the two faced yet another hurdle. They had to find a way to pay university fees. The government covered Lawrence's university tuition, but he needed to pay for room and board while on campus.
The boys' poultry farm in Uganda has allowed
both friends to pay for college tuition and
set up a savings account.
Anthony was not so lucky. He had to raise funds to pay for his college tuition. The two boys have always stuck by each other, and Lawrence was not going to abandon his friend.
Together they came up with an idea to help both boys fund their education.
With guidance from a mutual friend studying agriculture, Lawrence and Anthony decided to start a poultry project. Their friend advised them on the type of feed to use and how to treat sick poultry.
Using the funds they saved from their sponsorship benefit and from selling their farm produce, they bought chicks and built a poultry house.
'Dedication and discipline'
They each do what they can to care for the chickens. Anthony goes to a nearby college, so he shoulders most of the responsibility.
"Taking care of poultry takes dedication and discipline," Anthony said. "I have to keep on checking the poultry house to make sure that everything is running smoothly, and collecting eggs the chickens have laid to avoid breakages."
Lawrence cannot help as much with the poultry because he studies in Kampala, the capital, and only goes home during school holidays.
"I encourage Anthony to take care of the poultry, and I send money when I can to help buy poultry feed," Lawrence said. "When I am on holiday, I take up the work and Anthony takes a break."
Anthony and Lawrence gather 210 eggs every day
from their chickens.
Every day, the chickens lay 210 eggs or seven trays (one tray contains 30 eggs). The boys collect 5,000 Ugandan shillings (about $2.14). They sell the eggs to local shops. Their neighbors are regular customers, too.
"We get reasonable profit from the sale of the eggs," Anthony said. "We divide this between ourselves; I receive a larger share than Lawrence because I need more to pay for my tuition. We always leave some money for savings since our dream is to expand our poultry project."
The boys are constructing a larger poultry house that will accommodate more chickens. They hope to share their success with others by employing other youth in the community and helping others develop their own income-generating projects.
Pursuing their studies was the main motivation for the poultry project. Lawrence studies psychology and Anthony studies computer science.
"My dream of becoming a computer technician is no longer far-fetched," Anthony said. "If it were not for CFCA believing in us, we would not have made it this far."