By daring to break gender norms and starting her own chicken business, this young woman in Mozambique now lives a better life and can support her family.
Angelina Benjamin, 28, is a wife and mother who had to drop out of school due to pregnancy. She lives with her family in Rapale district, Nampula Province, north of Mozambique. When she was selected to receive training through the OYE project, she saw the opportunity the programme could offer.
“I was unable to continue my studies. Even if my parents were alive, I couldn't have continued going to school because they were very poor. OYE opened a new chapter in my life". Poverty led Angelina into early wedlock, making her dependent on her husband.
OYE: a life-changing experience
Angelina was part of the first group of youth recruited by the OYE project in Rapale to undergo leadership, entrepreneurship and basic life skills training. After finishing the training, she was linked to Novos Horizontes where she quickly rose to the top.
“OYE gives new meaning to life. There are many preconceptions about women. People get surprised to see a woman making money from chicken like I do. This is generally considered a business for men”.
Since April 2015, Angelina has raised and sold three cycles of chicken. She increased her profit from 500 USD to 2,000 USD per cycle (7 weeks) by growing her stock from 500 to 2,000 chicks. She receives chicks, chicken food, vitamins and technical assistance from Novos Horizontes. She has learnt to minimise the mortality rate during the 35-day cycle. At the end of the cycle, the company deducts the costs for food, medicine, vitamins and chicks. Even so, Angelina makes substantial profit.
“Obviously I would not be successful without the support of OYE. The project helped me develop a business plan which I submitted to the Provincial Youth Directorate. I qualified to receive a 500 USD loan and used the money to build a big chicken pen and buy drinking and feeding troughs”.
Angelina also invested in a solar lighting system and an accumulator to facilitate her work at night when she needs to feed the chicks. The light will make it easier to spot predators like snakes and dogs. Last November she managed to buy a piece of land at the district centre where she's planning to build a conventional brick house. “I bought that land to be close to important services, but I still run my business here”.
After the OYE raining, Angelina opened her first bank account and continues to hone her financial management skills. Part of her income goes to a savings account that will be used to build a bigger chicken pen for 4000 chickens. Another share is set aside for repaying her loan. She also has to pay the three workers that she is hiring (the wages amount to 150 USD).
Her family is also reaping the benefits of her business and increased income. Her husband is directly employed in the business and she was also able to pay for her brother’s stomach surgery. “I saved my brother’s life, the doctor told me he could have died. So I have more than a thousand reasons to thank OYE”.
Thanks to the OYE entrepreneurship training Angelina has also expanded her income streams. Now she doesn't only raise chicken, but also grows maize crops to feed her family. “When someone has an opportunity to transform their lives, nothing can stop them. I always dreamt of doing something that could bring dignity, knowledge, skills and a vision to transform lives”. Angelina confessed that although she had hoped for prosperity in the future, she never expected to earn up to 2,000 USD every seven weeks as a woman and without education. She is elated to be an example to other young women.
Making her family proud
Issufo João, Angelina’s husband, used to see people raising chicken but never tried it. Now he is amazed at how much his family’s life has changed since his wife started the business.
“I am very happy with what is happening in my life. Before my wife started this business I could barely provide for my family. Without education, I could not get a job. My wife is transforming our lives, she is thrifty and now we are helping each other”.
Issufo admitted that he had some misgivings when Angelina attended the OYE training. However, after she got the loan and started raising chicks, he realised that she was serious and now the results are visible in their everyday lives.
“I will keep encouraging her to run this business because she can get more monthly income than we could ever get from a season of farming in our small fields,” said Angelina's husband.