11 May, 2021

“I thought I was a ‘nobody’. Now I know I’m a ‘somebody.’” – Wilson

Crouched over in the dirt, Wilson is surrounded by chickens. As Wilson goes about his work, there is no wiping the smile off his face. Those chickens changed his life.

Wilson was born and raised in a village in rural Zambia. But Wilson’s experience growing up was different to his peers.

“I was born with a disability on my hand and leg,” says Wilson. “I started school but was not able to write so I only went up to grade two.”

Wilson’s paralysis meant he could not hold a pencil to write. Without an education and with barriers to working as a labourer, Wilson couldn’t find work. He felt like a burden on his family.

“I have always been called ‘chilema’, meaning the ‘paralytic’,” Wilson says. “Some people in my community, including some of my family members, thought I could only be a burden to those around me.”

Wilson with his grandmother, mother, and siblings

It was hard for Wilson not to believe everything those around him were saying. He lived at home with his mother, grandmother and two younger siblings. He wanted to contribute to the household, but he didn’t know how. Until ADRA began working in his area.

With ADRA’s help, Wilson received five chickens and the necessary training to raise and breed them. ADRA’s project in Zambia is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

“I learned that I was supposed to feed my chickens every morning as they left the cage so that they are strong and healthy,” says Wilson. “I have been following all the things we were taught by ADRA on how to take care of chickens and they have multiplied – I have 50 chickens now!”

Wilson feeding his chickens

The chickens not only provided Wilson with a source of income, but they provided him with dignity and a sense of purpose. Now, Wilson is actively contributing to his household. He is helping to see his siblings through their schooling so they can have hope for a brighter future.

“When school fees are needed, Wilson provides by selling some chickens,” says Alice, Wilson’s mother. “He sells his chickens to solve our problems. He buys them uniforms, books, pencils and anything required.”

“I am supporting their education through the chickens,” Wilson says. “When anyone needs a school uniform or books, I just catch one chicken and sell in order to find money for what is needed. I couldn’t continue with school due to my disability, so I work to ensure my siblings can continue with their education.”

Wilson’s chickens are his pride and joy, and they have changed his life.

“Wilson has become the head of our house,” Alice says. “And we are delighted for his help!”

Wilson is now hopeful for his future

“I am very much respected here at home as a result of this chicken project,” he says. “I am able to provide for the family and I am very much appreciated now compared to the way it used to be in the past. I’m happy to be supporting the education of my siblings as a result of this chicken business. These chickens have become the best friends I have.”

The support that Wilson received has transformed his life from one of hopelessness to hope. He is extremely grateful for the help he received and hopes that others like him may have the same opportunity too.

“I have been greatly helped as a result of these chickens,” Wilson says. “I am grateful to you for the help that you have given us through ADRA. Please continue, help many more people who are just like me. Thank you very much.”

You can watch Wilson’s full story here.

Update: June 2022

Since last year, Wilson has expanded his animal raising business. He was able to sell some of his chickens to invest in three goats.

“I like goats because they don’t get many diseases and are easy to look after,” Wilson says.

Not only that, but Wilson’s family are delighted by this new direction. You can read the full update of Wilson’s story here.

Your gift today can give people like Wilson hope for a brighter future! When you give today, your gift can be matched up to five times! Donate now at adra.org.au/donate

Every year, ADRA receives Australian Government funding through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) for eligible development programs. A requirement for this funding is that we commit to contribute $1 for every $5 we receive from the Australian Government. Please donate by June 30 to help us meet our ANCP funding match and give a brighter future to people in need.

Tags:  Africa, Blog, Livelihoods,