Goats and chickens: life-changing gifts that multiply

Two inspiring stories from World Vision’s Gift Catalog — one about a boy who received a goat, and another about a family who received chickens — show just how transformational these simple gifts can be.

Story and photos by Michael Czobit, World Vision Zimbabwe. Edited by Rachael Boyer.
Published October 6, 2011 at 12:00am PDT

Goats bring smiles and food to Thabani

In 2007, 9-year-old Thabani, a sponsored boy in western Zimbabwe, received three goats through World Vision’s Gift Catalog. A year later, the three goats had multiplied to 12. That same year, Thabani’s father became sick and died, leaving his mother to care for him.

Then came the drought.

Thabani’s mother, Margreth Sibanda, says that her son wasn’t getting any food aside from the goat’s milk. But Margreth and Thabani were not without assets: They traded two of the goats for 40 kilograms of maize, which provided three weeks of food for the family.

“Having the goats assisted me so much in getting food security during the drought,” Margreth says. The widowed woman has no consistent source of income, but works piecemeal jobs in exchange for food.

When Thabani, now 14, returns from school each afternoon, he gathers his family’s goats from the field so they can sleep in the corral.

“I like milking because I like milk,” Thabani says of his favorite chore when looking after the goats.

Margreth hopes the goats will continue to multiply so that they can sell more of them. With profits from those sales, she would like to buy new clothes for Thabani, who appreciates the goats and the help his family has received from World Vision.

“I am very thankful for the gifts,” Thabani says.

Chickens: A blessing that multiplies

Zenzile’s 10-year-old daughter, Melaka, holds one of the chickens from their Gift Catalog flock.Zenzile, 44, and her husband, Nicholas, 59, look after their daughter, a niece, and three grandsons. Three have sponsors through World Vision. In 2008, Zenzile’s family received 11 chickens through the Gift Catalog.

World Vision provided training along with the chickens. Staff members taught Zenzile and Nicholas how to care for the chickens and construct a coop to house them. World Vision also provided building material for the coop.

After the chickens multiplied the next year, Zenzile began to sell them for extra income. The family’s 63 chickens have even replaced Zenzile’s previous main source of income — working in the fields as a day laborer.

The income from the chicken sales has helped her family in different ways. With the earnings, Zenzile paid the last two years of school fees for all of the children she cares for, and bought school uniforms for niece Sizalobuhle and daughter Melaka. Sizalobuhle has lived with Zenzile since her parents died in 2006.

Before Zenzile received the chickens, she worried about paying school fees for her children. “It was not easy,” she says. “I think it’s very important for them to go to school. If my children are educated, they will be able to support themselves.”

With the chicken sales, Zenzile also bought a goat, which has given birth to twins. The family now has seven goats, which Zenzile sees as a wise investment.

Beyond being a source of income and nutrition from the eggs, the chickens have given Zenzile the opportunity to help others in her community by sharing some of her chickens with her neighbors.

“I gave them to the people who are in need — especially those who are starting their homes with nothing,” Zenzile says.

Melaka likes that her mother has helped their neighbors. “I think this is the right thing. I support what my mother is doing.”

Three ways you can help

Thank God for the positive change that children like Thabani and parents like Zenzile have seen in their lives through the simple gift of goats and chickens. Pray that many more families in their communities will experience similar joy through such gifts.

Give the gift of a goat and two chickens. These animals provide a sustainable source of nutritious food and income through milk and eggs. Best of all, when the animals give birth, the young goats and chickens can be sold to help even more families!

Find out how your church can partner with World Vision to give gifts through our Gift Catalog! The generosity of your congregation can unwrap a better tomorrow for children and families in poverty.