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Story by Magdalena Wos | Resource Development Officer | Heifer South Africa
Photo by Makhosazana Dlamini | Agricultural Coordinator | Heifer South Africa

Nceba Metula, 64, wears black trousers, a brown jacket and a green and yellow hat. He is weeding his garden when the Heifer team arrives. Nceba and his wife Nokuzola, 53, have only been members of a Heifer project for a few months but they are already seeing the benefits. “We are thankful to the donors and Heifer,” Nceba said, “for coming and starting the project with us – it has changed our lives and we see the future brighter after their arrival.”

Nceba and Noluzola are members of Heifer’s Phuhlisanani Project, located in the Amatole Basin near Alice in the Eastern Cape. Through Heifer’s support, Nceba and Nokuzola began farming with vegetables in 2012. In their 0.3 hectare garden, they planted spinach, cabbage, green peppers, potatoes and carrots. In January 2013, they received 30 chickens – 27 hens and three roosters. The practice of raising animals as well as growing vegetables is called integrated farming. It’s a very important part of Heifer’s approach. Families not only have access to healthy vegetables, but they also receive protein from eggs. Nceba’s family works hard to eat a balanced diet, thanks to their farming activities. This is particularly important for Mr. Metula, who is diabetic.

Nceba and Nokuzola’s small-scale farming activities are important for another reason: they represent a way for this family to earn income through their hard work and determination. Nceba receives a very basic pension and Nokuzola washes clothes for other community members once a week, but the money they earn never seems to be enough. Furthermore, their children have been unable to find work. Now the whole family takes part in planning and improving the vegetable garden and caring for the chickens. In the next few months, Nceba hopes to begin earning a regular income by selling eggs and live chickens. He has invested time and resources in the small business he hopes to build, improving and expanding the structures he uses to care for his chickens.

Nceba also plans to pass on the gifts his family has received. Passing on the Gift® (POG) is Heifer’s unique process whereby each family that benefits from Heifer’s support agrees to pass on, or donate, the same training, seedlings and support they received to another family. In addition, every family donates the same number of animals – generally the offspring of their own livestock – to another family in need. Through POG Nceba and Nokuzola will be able to share the great opportunity they have received with their neighbors and friends. “Heifer has ended hunger in my house and in my community as a whole,” said Nceba.

Heifer South Africa would like to thank UK Aid, the National Lotteries Board and the WesBank Fund for their support of this project, as well as the many individual donors who share what they can to support the families in South Africa with whom Heifer works.


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Heifer International

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