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by Heifer China

Zhang Hui, his wife, and three children are living in a remote, mountainous village named Baishui in Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture, Guizhou Province. The local economy is limited by a shortage of farmland, water resources and poor transportation. The whole family has only two adults who can work. What’s worse, Zhang Hui’s right leg was injured when he was a migrant worker, which prevented him doing some heavy work. Besides, they have three children who are all at primary school, a 6-year old son named Zhang Zijie and two older daughters named Zhang Ming and Zhang Yan. The low production and larger expenditures lead the family to poverty.

Before the project implementation, Zhang Hui only raised 23 natural-fed chickens and 2 pigs. After the Heifer project was implemented on April 16, 2011, he bought 314 chicks with the gift money and started his pheasant breeding industry. Then he joined the self-help group and became a leader. He accepted trainings of 12 Cornerstones and animal husbandry, and acquired skills in corn and rye planting and pheasant breeding. Moreover, the Kaili Science and Technology Bureau provided him 30,000 Yuan to purchase corn seeds as well as have an additional allowance.

“I had acquired some basic knowledge of pheasants breeding when I was in an eco-rearing base in Kaili. At that time I knew it would make money, but I was too poor then. However, Heifer China came; I have the initial capital to do this," Zhang Hui said. "I wanted something different, so I choose pheasants instead of pigs, and I want to be professional.” With his hard work, plus the material and technical support from the local government and Heifer China, Zhang Hui had a harvest of both crops and pheasant rearing. By selling pheasants, he had an income of 20,150 Yuan.

In the past 3 months, the family has received electricity, built a bio-gas unit, and bought a refrigerator and an egg incubator. Meanwhile, they have upgraded their house into two floors, which provides another 50 square meters of space. While planning the future, Zhang Hui mentioned at present he would enlarge the chicken-rearing scale to gain more income to support his children’s schooling. The eldest daughter dreamed to be a running athlete. She has kept jogging 4 km per day from home to school for nearly one year. 3 children are top students at school. If they want to go to university, Zhang Hui stated he would definitely afford their tuition no matter how hard he and his wife should work.

Editor’s note: This post is part of a series that follows the progress of specific families, starting at the beginning of their work with Heifer. Initially, this series will focus on our programs in Asia/South Pacific, where our colleagues have chosen one family in each region in the countries where we work and will bring us quarterly updates.


Casey Neese