Fifty-year-old Ángela lives in the hot Piura region of Peru. A now-single mother with one son, she was always a housewife with no chance of getting an education. But her dedication to taking care of the crops and animals, including chickens and turkeys, on her farm has given her hope for a bright future. Ángela’s son is now old enough to work, so he helps support their small family of two.
Through Heifer Peru’s project in her community, Ángela was able to learn valuable skills in sheep raising, manure preparation for fertilizer, gender equality and general animal well-being. Before joining the project, she had never been to a workshop or training. “The workshop that I liked was the one on organic fertilizers,” she shares. “They taught us the importance of preparing healthy foods. We learned about the danger of pesticides, and that instead we should use organic fertilizers to avoid diseases. I also learned to make my own organic fertilizers. The animal health workshop was very useful because I learned to take better care of my animals so they will not get sick.”
Now that Ángela raises sheep, she feels a “great responsibility” for them and is very excited to see what happens after she has the privilege of Passing on the Gift® of sheep to another family. "The experience when I received my own sheep through Passing on the Gift® was very nice,” she smiles. “I went to the ceremony to receive my sheep and was so excited when I got those five sheep! I was so grateful that they gave me the opportunity to raise them. I’d like to dedicate myself to raising my sheep and keeping them healthy. I also use their manure for fertilizer. The best thing about them is that they’re also my emergency plan—if I get into financial trouble, I can sell one to make a little extra money."
Ángela is one of many women in Piura who feel grateful for the training, animals and plants that Heifer has given to them. “The knowledge I gained through workshops makes me feel proud of myself for the first time,” she says. “Heifer has brought a change in my life; these skills are important because it is an opportunity for women like me, who have no education, to learn things that are practical and useful.”
Story and Photos by Katia Melgarejo, Fundraising and Communications Coordinator, Heifer Peru