Story by Heifer Rwanda

Happiness has come back to Nsengimana Alfred’s family after a year and a half of reaping the benefits of a donated cow. “When I see how my family’s life has improved, I see it as God’s miracle,” said Alfred.

Alfred’s family was one of the poorest households in the Kagogo watershed when projects implemented by Heifer International and Kihere Community-Based Watershed Management Project started supporting farmers in the watershed. He wondered his whole life how he would escape ancestral poverty and if he would ever have a cow in his compound. By the grace of God, he saw a pregnant cow walking into his home on December 8, 2010.

“I will never forget that day in my life,” said Alfred.The cow has become part of the family.

Alfred, his wife Annonciata and their two children have been working hard to take good care of their cow, which has calved twice so far (both were female calves). They have designated hours that they call “milk hours.” When they are all in the house together drinking milk at those hours, they feel they are the happiest family  They have designated hours that they call “milk hours.” When they are all in the house together drinking milk at those hours, they feel they are the happiest f.The cow gives the family 16 liters of milk per day half of which they sell. The remaining milk is left at home for the calf and the family’s consumption.  The family’s income has greatly improved because they sell 8 liters of milk a day for 180 Frw, or about 50 centsThe milk is sold at a nearby collection center and, at the end of the month, Alfred is paid up to 43,200 Frw, or about $72.

The money from the milk sales and the manure from the cow, which fertilizes the soil, have tremendously improved his family’s livelihood. Following are some of the improvements:

  • Crop production has greatly improved, as evidenced by banana yield, which has increased from a bunch of 20 kg to 70 kg.
  • The health of the family members has drastically improved, especially the children's.
  • Alfred can now easily pay school fees for the children and health insurance for the whole family. 
  • He has constructed a water tank from locally available materials for harvesting rainwater from the roof.
  • He is now transforming his house, formerly a mud house, and covering it with cement and sand.

Alfred said his other happiest moment was when he became a donor by passing on the best of his cow’s offspring to a new beneficiary. He can now predict his future, seeing what he has achieved in the year and a half. He has become a model farmer in the area and is very determined to lift his family from poverty.

“Many thanks to God who has brought Heifer International and KWAMP to our area,” said Alfred.

Author

Heifer International

Heifer International is a nonprofit, non-governmental organization working with communities to end hunger and poverty while caring for the Earth.