Bakhtawar, 56 years old widow, lives in Mir Qasim Jan, a village of Chimtal district, Balkh province. She has two daughters and a son, all married. She lives with her son who is father of 7 kids. She says, “I used to feel like, I was burden on my son as he is a farmer and works on leased land, his income is not enough for the entire family. Our financial challenges would increase during winter as the agricultural field doesn’t provide sufficient income. For the last couple of years due to drought and climate change all the farmers are struggling to survive in our community.”
Hand in Hand Afghanistan in partnership with CAFOD and Hand in Hand International has been implementing “Socio-Economic Empowerment of Women and Men” project in Chimtal district of Balkh province. Bakhtawar is one of the 900 beneficiaries whom have been mobilized in Self-Help Groups, she says, “I have joined Mutahid self-help group and attended regular trainings, I learned group management, micro-finance and business development services. It was interesting to me that woman could also run businesses and small business doesn’t need a lot of skills or resources, even I could have a business.”
Bakhtawar has selected poultry farming and received poultry vocational skills training, she says, “With support of HiH Af and the trainer, I have built a poultry coop and received poultry enterprise startup kit which included, feeder, water pot, chicken feed, hen, multi-vitamins for chickens and other necessary tools for establishing my enterprise.”
Bakhtawar has established her layer backyard poultry farm and started selling eggs to neighbors and around village, she says, “I have learned in trainings that by increasing egg productions, I can earn more, so I saved some money from my income and bought seven more hens to increase production. Now I am earning around AFN 2,500 per month. I am no longer dependent on anyone, I have my own savings, I have bought two sheep and I am also helping my son, we are having better food now.”
As eggs are good source of high quality and inexpensive protein, the beneficiaries and their families who have established poultry farms have access to good nutrition.
Bakhtawar plans to further expand her poultry farm as she say, “I am going to increase the number of chickens after selling sheep because there is good demand for eggs in our village, especially during winter the prices go up.