Chickens help Europe’s poorest families out of poverty
This spring, UK charity Mission Without Borders (MWB) is celebrating the power of chickens to give Eastern Europe’s poorest families a fresh start. The charity says its innovative approach to tackling poverty has helped thousands of families transform their lives.
The following case study shows the severity of the problem.
Andrei lives with his wife Viorica and their sons. Their circumstances are typical of the families MWB supports in Moldova; since the fall of the Soviet Union, agricultural industry has been in sharp decline and as a result, today there are few jobs in rural communities which once thrived.
Unable to find work, every day was a struggle for Andrei and Viorica to put food on the table and pay the bills, causing them great stress. Andrei took on whatever work he could get – usually travelling long distances for a few hours’ casual labour in factories. But without a stable job, the family’s income was insecure and for long periods they’d go hungry. Andrei says:
“We lived in a run-down Soviet apartment block with one kitchen for 16 families. We were desperate to find a better life and to provide enough food for our sons. We moved to our own place, but there was no electricity and the increased rent meant we couldn’t always buy food.”
MWB were alerted to the family’s desperate situation, and the charity helped to ease their burden by providing the food and winter fuel they needed to survive. MWB’s local coordinator also worked with the family to develop a plan that would enable them to meet their needs in the long-term. With the charity’s help, the family set up a chicken farm that provided eggs; a source of nourishing protein and an item they could sell. With this regular and sustainable income, they’d be able to break the cycle of poverty.
The family worked hard to make their mini-farm a success and eventually, they were in a position to buy a milking cow, some vegetable seeds and tools to grow their enterprise into a thriving farm.
“My sons are gaining new skills and as they get older they can use these skills to support themselves,” Andrei says. “The farm is growing; our cow gave birth to a calf. Thanks to those precious chickens, my sons are no longer hungry, and we’ve been able to do it ourselves.”
Moldova is the poorest country in Europe. 60% of families live in rural regions where many scrape by on the international breadline of just 80p a day. MWB aims to support as many families as possible to achieve self-sufficiency by asking supporters in the UK to pledge £4 – the cost of providing one chicken to a family living in poverty – as part of its Count your Chickens campaign throughout March and April. Visit mwbuk.org/count-your-chickens2 or call 020 7940 1370 to make a donation or find out more.
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