Hope of employment seemed slim whilst the income opportunities seemed obvious for men, this was real for Samkeliso and friends from the gold-rich ward 2 of Insiza district.
Having toiled for years after finishing school trying to find a meaningful livelihood source, Samkeliso and her friends resigned to the fact that money belonged to the tough boys who can sustain tough battles against other gangs and writhing their way in shafts. The busy business center of Mahole is a haven for artisanal miners. Girls from the local community flock the center where the risk of HIV is high due to the high risk sexual activities practiced there.
Samkeliso aged 23, Nontobeko aged 18 and Princess aged 21 of Mahole in ward 2 of
District were enrolled into the DREAMS program in October 2020 and received ISAL training in December 2020.
This was the dawn of a new day in their lives as they were not only equipped with knowledge on HIV and violence prevention but also with skills to identify and explore opportunities to generate income. “It was difficult for me to look after myself and two children, I felt I was overburdening my parents” said a teary Samkeliso.
They approached a neighbor, Mr. Sibanda, who is her friend’s father who accepted and obliged to help them learn the ropes of business. They entered into an agreement where he sponsors the cost of production for broilers while they do the feeding and then share profit on a 60/40% ratio. The girls take 60% share while Mr. Sibanda takes 40% share. They started in 2020 and are currently on their 9th batch and have produced over 600 chickens.
They sought the services of a local Agriculture Extension worker who taught them on poultry production and have perfected their skills over time. Quality products and superior marketing strategies have seen them sustain competition from other players. They sell their chickens as whole or cut them to smaller portions.
They take turns to feed the chickens and currently have two batches of 50 birds each. They dream of diversifying in egg production since they are in short supply in the local market and even in other nearby wards.
“Now as girls we are able to buy clothes of our choice, now i know getting married early is not a gateway out of poverty, I am free to make own choice without any influence” remarked Nontobeko.