Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Goats save lives

One of the most frequent causes of child abandonment that we have encountered in Haiti is food insecurity.   When families with already frail economies meet the tragedy of loss- loss of income, loss of home, loss of life- starvation becomes an immediate and real fear.  Parents relinquish children because they recognize that they do not have the means to keep the children alive; because they believe the chances of survival are better apart.  

Variations of this story accompany most of the children we have come to love in our Haitian community.   The overwhelming weight of it; the size and complexity of the problem was overwhelming, and defeating.  Until I met Fifi.

Fifi is a lovely women who found herself raising two small children alone.  While we had seen many children like Fifi's become skinny and ultimately be relinquished, Fifi's little ones maintained their chubby cheeks.  We discovered that Fifi had a basic skill set- she knew how to garden and keep small livestock- some chickens and goats- and it was those skills that were keeping her family fed and cared for despite the loss that had come to their home.  

Understanding and trusting in the cycles of growth and reproduction allowed Fifi's family to thrive, and became the inspiration and foundation of our Kabrit Project.  

By teaching children who have been orphaned and abandoned how to keep a garden, and care for small livestock, we hope that they will never be faced with the choice of watching their children starve or relinquishing them to others.  
By employing herds of goats and other common livestock, we hope to provide self-sustaining, self-replicating sources of milk and meat to their diets, while teaching husbandry skills that result in self-sufficient income.  

A small garden and a couple chickens has grown to three herds of goats, two farms, and a host of other animals, that are helping to feed, educate, and develop children in three church communities.  

This project gives us hope for the next generation of families.  Instead of repeating the cycles of poverty and abandonment, we hope that because of the skills and opportunities provided by these goats, families will not only stay together, but thrive.   We have seen goats save lives.