Even though it was the day of the funeral of the husband of a group member, over 60 women (and one man) met at the church in Lumakanda Village to welcome us with song, testimony, tea, and donuts. These women were all members of the Visionary Women’s Centre in western Kenya, working to gain greater social and economic justice for themselves and all women in their community.
When we first arrived, people were still taking tea, and so we waited while they finished eating and drinking before the singing began. Then came testimonies from the six group leaders, each small group comprised of 10-15 members. “We are now seeing far in our village. We are seen as dependable women in the village,” said the leader of “New Life” group. Another leader said, “We are very happy. Alone we could not have moved forward from where we were. We used to depended on our husbands’ support. Now we have economic independence.”
Centrine said that since starting the home poultry project, supported by Spirit in Action, she is now in control of her own resources. She no longer only depends on her husband. Dressed in a fine black skirt, green shirt, and black vest, she told us that now when she walks into an office for services, she gets respect from the officers there!
Meeting with the Visionary Women in Turbo, Kenya!
Visiting Chickens and Gardens
After the meeting, we visited the homes of five members, admiring their poultry houses and chickens. Two different SIA grants have helped over 70 women build chicken houses and start with five hens each. Priscilla now has 25 birds and she has also bought three sheep and a lamb. The larger animals serve as an investment or savings, which can be sold when school fees are due in September, January, and May.
Priscilla with some of her chickens. They spend the day pecking in the yard.
In addition to the SIA Poultry Program, the Visionary Women’s Centre has also funded some group members to attend a sustainable agriculture training at Manor House in Kitale, Kenya. Tabitha shows us her chickens, the cow she bought with some of the chicken sales, and her kitchen garden. The kitchen garden is a small corner of her yard, where she grows maize (corn), kale, and beans. She uses these for her family’s meals, meaning she doesn’t have to spend as much on food as before.
Kale in Tabitha’s kitchen garden. “Before, I was a beggar from my neighbors for food. Now I have plenty, and I give food to others who need.”
“Before, our own lives were at a very humble level,” said Tabitha. “Now we have improved! I know poultry management. And I can now pay school fees for all my children. My relationship with my husband is so much better. Before, I was a beggar from my neighbors for food. Now I have plenty, and I give food to others who need.”
Tanya and Barbara with Tabitha, her husband and child.
Bravo to these women, and to the amazing leadership team which is so dedicated, skilled, and visionary in their work!
Tabitha’s cow provides milk for her family and for sale.