Story by Magdalena Wos | Resource Development Officer | Heifer South Africa
Babalwa and Thanduxolo Mqayise are sister and brother. Like many young people in South Africa, they have hopes and dreams. Babalwa always wanted to be a nurse and her younger brother wanted to be a lawyer.
Until recently, it seemed that the siblings’ dreams would not come true. With both parents unemployed, the poverty-stricken family could not afford to pay for the children’s tertiary education. Now that their mother has joined Heifer South Africa’s Phuhlisanani Project, their hope for a better life is restored.
The Phuhlisanani Project was established in August 2012 to help an original group of 350 people become independent small-scale farmers. Like other rural families who work with Heifer, project members were trained on various aspects of farming, including crop production, livestock management and bookkeeping. After the trainings, project members received fruit trees and seedlings, and Heifer South Africa staff helped them establish vegetable gardens. Over the last few months, project families have been receiving livestock.
Nobanzi Mqayise, Babalwa and Thanduxolo’s mother, sees her participation in the project as a way for her family to escape hunger. After applying the knowledge she gained through training to create her own vegetable garden, she already sees a change. “Since we have started working with Heifer, we now have activities to do and we use our time efficiently in the garden to improve vegetable production; something we could not do in the past,” Nobanzi said. “The vegetables we have grown help us to eat healthy. We save money by not buying vegetables, but consuming them from the garden.”
Babalwa also sees farming as an opportunity for her family. “I am interested in agriculture and I assist my parents with planting, removing the weeds and other activities involved in the garden,” Babalwa said.
This family has had much success, but the biggest change on their journey to a better life is yet to come. Over the next few months, Heifer will provide Nobanzi with four indigenous goats. The gift of livestock and vegetables will enable her family to generate income and make steps toward a better future. With a sustainable lifestyle, the dreams of Babalwa and Thanduxolo can still come true.