Elizabeth’s Life as a Sustainable Small Farmer’

Posted 26 March 2012

"My family is excited since we are going to receive chickens and we will be small farmers in the community" said Mrs Elizabeth Duduzile Mbhele in October 2011. Today, Mrs Duduzile is an owner of a 20 m² vegetable garden and 31 chickens which she received from Heifer International South Africa (Heifer). Just a year after joining the project, Mrs Duduzile is a happy and hard working small farmer who is on her way out of poverty and food insecurity.

Heifer International South Africa is a non profit organisation which partners with poor rural communities and helps them achieve food security and self sustainability. Heifer prepares rural communities to become successful small farmers. The organisation provides project members with resources such as training and livestock, which enables them to produce food and generate an income.

Mrs Elizabeth Duduzile Mbhele, wife of Mr Mdunseni and mother of five children, is a small farmer and a member of Heifer's Sukuma Poultry Project near Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. For many years, Elizabeth and her family struggled financially. With only Mr Mdunseni's salary, it was hard for Elizabeth and her husband to make ends meet every month. But in 2011, Elizabeth started her journey towards a better future. She became a member of the Sukuma Poultry Project right at the beginning of the project - in March 2011. During the first few months, she received various trainings and in July 2011, Heifer provided her with fruit trees. Shorty after that, Mrs Duduzile created her vegetable garden from seedlings she received from Heifer.

"Every day is a happy day ever since we met Heifer because now we know how to produce our own vegetables. Heifer opened our eyes. They were teaching us different ways of living [...], things like gender and family focus," said Mrs Duduzile.

Providing Elizabeth with skills, seedlings and fruit trees was just the beginning. In October 2011, Heifer provided Elizabeth with 31 chickens. In a short time, with freshly growing cabbage, spinach, onion and carrots plus chickens producing eggs on a daily basis, Elizabeth and her family finally started to eat healthy food every day. Access to vegetables and protein-rich products has had a positive influence on the health of the family.

Almost a year after becoming a member of Heifer's project, Elizabeth is continuing her work towards becoming a successful small farmer who is able to generate income through selling vegetables and eggs. "I am willing to produce vegetables and sell them to the community at large," says Elizabeth.

As with all members of Heifer projects, Elizabeth is also preparing to pass on the equivalent of what she received to another family in need. Through Passing on the Gift®, she will make her own contribution towards ending hunger and poverty in South Africa and uplifting her community.