A special gift when you need it most can be life changing - and live saving.
For seven-year-old Stecy in Uganda, that gift came in the form of a goat. This Best.Gift.Ever transformed not only Stecy’s life, but the lives of her entire family as well.
You will see Stecy on the cover of our 2021 Best.Gift.Ever catalogue, proudly showing off her lovely goat. We wanted to share Stecy's story on just how a simple gift can transform everything. Hear in Stecy, and her grandmother Betty's, own words the impact one goat can make.
BETTY, IT’S NICE TO MEET YOU. WHAT DO YOU DO FOR A LIVING?
I am a farmer, I do poultry farming but the pandemic has changed everything. I was forced to sell off all the birds I had due to the high cost of feeds that kept on increasing. I could not carry on with the project.
I am also a goat farmer. I am one of the lucky parents who received a healthy goat, a she-goat from HUYSLINCI (one of Canadian Feed The Children's Ugandan partners), of course through my granddaughter Stecy.
We have two more goats now from the mother goat that we received. We expect others because, look at her (Betty points at the goat she received)… she’s pregnant again and by the end of this year, she would have produced, by the grace of God.
WHAT HAPPENED AFTER YOU SOLD YOUR BIRDS?
Betty: The little money that I got from the sale of my chicken helped us a great deal for some good bit during those trying times of the lockdown - we used it to buy food stuffs and other supplies for our household. My husband has been getting less work jobs - he’s in the construction business, so we needed the money since buildings aren't being built in the lockdown.
It was painful for me to sell those birds before they could serve the purpose for which I bred them. I wanted to benefit from the sale of eggs but selling them off was a blessing in disguise – we needed to reduce family expenditure but we also needed money. What was right then was to sell them off so I could support Stecy and the children.
STECY, YOU AND YOUR GRANDMOTHER RECEIVED A GOAT. WHAT HAS THAT BEEN LIKE?
Stecy: Jajja (my grandmother) said that that big goat is mine (she laughs). I love it and I bring it food, I give it water and I also comb its hair. It’s beautiful and it is well disciplined- it doesn’t knock me. It loves me too.
I also take the goats to eat the grass and I sometimes even clean the house where goats sleep.
Betty: I want to add that my grandchildren have also become more responsible towards them and each one of them knows the day they have to take the goats out for grazing and back. They also took on chores to help out. They help collect the goat droppings to use for manure on our family vegetable farm.
HOW ARE YOU HOPING THE GOATS WILL HELP IN THE FUTURE?
Betty: Eventually selling some of the goats to other community members will be a great help. We only have three right now, so we’re waiting to breed more before selling. I have tried so much to avoid the temptation of selling off any to deal with the financial needs in my household, especially brought in by COVDID-19. The Baganda has a saying that goes: “Tolya ejji kwesubya muwuula” literally meaning “one who eats the egg, misses out on the big chicken meat in future” and so, I don’t want that to happen to me. We need to be patient.
STECY, WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT OWNING GOATS?
Goats are friendly animals. They are clean and grandma said that if our goats multiply and we need money, we can sell off one and get a lot of money.
I love to feed the goats and to take them to the fields to graze. I mostly love the sound that comes from their mouth when they are chewing. It makes me happy.
BETTY, WHAT ARE YOUR DREAMS FOR THE FUTURE?
Two main things that I am now passionate about, raising goats and chickens. I am very much committed to expanding these two projects and I trust and believe that life will not be the same for the members of my family in the near future.
My desire is to see them study, go to University, get good jobs, build their own families and so much more. I am trying to groom them into responsible children, respectful and hardworking. Stecy for example told me that she wants to become a medical doctor when she grows up and I want to see her get there. I pray that God prolongs my life to witness the joy of having a medical doctor in my family (she laughs and looks at Stecy).
Stecy: The family at home already calls me Dr. Stecy!
Thanks to CFTC-supported programming, with gifts from our generous donors, families like Stecy’s with life-changing gifts.
Because of these efforts, Stecy and Betty no longer worry about having a reliable source of income. And best of all, Stecy and her grandmother get to spend quality time together raising the family goats.
A Best.Gift.Ever can make a big impact for children and families worldwide, and truly help change the future for children.