Babirye & Nakato’s Story
Babirye and Nakato are twins who have led a very difficult life in their short 20 years. They went to school with their mother’s help, but their father disagreed and would remove them from their studies. When the girls were eight years old their mother left the home and their father began severely beating the girls. Their father took a new wife and she, along with her sons, would chase Babirye and Nakato away, causing them to retreat into the bush to stay safe. After a year in the bush and becoming ill and malnourished, the community supported the twins’ mother to take them in and send them to school. However, the girls performed poorly and dropped out in primary four to begin digging in gardens with their mother to survive. Eventually Babirye was married and even though they separated after two months, she was already pregnant. Babirye and Nakato were identified as vulnerable by SSF when they returned to their mother and were given two goats to assist their family. Since then, the goats have multiplied to five and the herd continues to grow. Resources provided through the goats allowed the twins to care for their ailing mother until she died, Babirye’s child and to replace their dilapidated house when it collapsed after a windstorm. Additionally, the girls have started a garden and are benefiting from training and follow up provided by SSF staff.
Even though Babirye now describes herself as joyful, during difficult times she remembers what things were like for her and her sister: “We were in sorrow and we were wondering what we could do. There was no single person from outside we go to or seek advice. We decided to do the little we could do ourselves”.
Salama SHIELD’s goat program is one of its most successful models to date. The community helps to identify a vulnerable person or family who could use support and is likely to be effective livestock caretakers. These individuals may be single parents, youth or child-led households. Goats create a host of benefits for caretakers, including nutritional support, income generation and development of entrepreneurial and animal husbandry skills. Additionally, goats can be bred to double the benefit; its milk can provide nourishment or become business venture, while individual goats or offspring can be sold. Profits that result from caring for goats can help support food security, payment of school fees, purchase of household items, payment medical bills or clothing and footwear purchases.