“Losing our parents was the worst thing that has ever happened in our life, but through Heifer we no longer feel like orphans,” said Ntombi Ngema.
Since the recent loss of both her parents, 29-year-old Ntombi has assumed responsibility for raising her three siblings, Hlanganiphile, 18; Londiwe, 12; and Amanda, 11; along with her own son Melokuhle, 5.
As part of the Zusiphe Goat Project in Nkandla Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, Ntombi and her family received two goats, from Heifer South Africa, as well as vegetable seedlings for crop production, in March 2013.
Crop production training has been especially beneficial for Ntombi. Previously, she was not able to sustain her vegetable garden. Now, the vegetables Ntombi grows provide her family with nutritional meals. And her healthy garden produces enough vegetables to sell for extra money, which she uses to buy bread and other necessities for the children-she even recently purchased a two-plate stove with a microwave oven.
As part of this project, Ntombi and her siblings attend regular group meetings organized by Heifer and benefit from the continuous support they receive from fellow project members.
This Heifer project has given Ntombi a way to survive and provide for her family, as well as membership in a caring and supportive community.
These huge achievements are the kinds of change that Heifer aims to achieve by reaching out to communities in South Africa and beyond.
Story by Claudelle Crick Dunn, Volunteer, Heifer South Africa
Photos by Magdalena Wos, Resource Development Officer, Heifer South Africa