By Frank Namara
Jean Paul Muzakera, his two sons and a wife in Mukarange sector Kayonza district often struggled to meet their basic needs until they received help from Heifer International Rwanda (HIR) in 2013 before which the family’s health suffered greatly. “It was difficult for us to find food everyday,” Muzakera recalls.
They ate Ugali and cassava leaves for sustenance “We were always ill-fed, very weak and underproductive” he remembers. As a farmer, Muzakera was not able to save anything in a year “We were living hand to mouth,” he said.
In 2013, their fortune turned for the better. Muzakera family received a cow from HIR. This dramatically improved the livelihood of his household.
“In the past my family members used to be malnourished, but now, with milk to drink, they are not. They would get ill frequently, but now that has all stopped.” Thanks to his Heifer cow, Muzakera is earning more than Rwf 48,000 every month from milk sales. In addition to milk, the cows produce a lot of valuable manure. Before, Muzakera’s household could harvest about 100kgs of maize per acre. Now, because they now have so much manure, Muzakera’s farm can produce about 500kgs per acre—five times as much.