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From maize farmer to tea room owner (via one helpful goat)

Our Christmas gifts really do change lives. You’ll see how when you meet Elicy – whose goat helped her towards a brighter future.

Elicy in Malawi was given a goat by Concern Worldwide. Photo credit: Catriona Loughrin

Elicy, from Malawi, remembers when growing and selling maize was the only way her family could make money.

She says: “It was tough. It was very hard to raise children on little food after the harvest. We didn’t have access to other crops such as vegetables and we had no livestock.”

A life-changing gift

Things changed when the family were given a goat by Concern. They looked after the animal, and when the goat had kids, passed them on to other vulnerable households – this “livestock pass-on” approach was agreed with communities at the outset, and meant the benefits of one goat reach many poor families.

Livestock in Malawi also serve as a means of saving, like having money in the bank for a rainy day. When Elicy needed money to meet her family’s needs, she was able to sell the animal – bringing in vital money.

Elicy in Malawi was given a goat by Concern Worldwide. Photo credit: Catriona Loughrin Elicy says: “Receiving a goat enabled me to gain extra income for the household. I also received other crops and developed ways of improving food production through crop diversification.”

Elicy’s ambition grew, and within a few years she was a lead farmer in a Concern project designed to help people escape poverty and withstand future emergencies. Soon she had more livestock, more maize and other crops too.

She says: “Before, I never knew how to budget or manage a family budget. I feel empowered that I am able to conduct business in the community and discuss yields for crops and livestock.”

Money will help Elicy's children

With her extra income Elicy has opened a tea room, a place for social gatherings in her village. She is a role model in her community.

She says: “I feel very happy that I was given this opportunity. Many farmers ask me for advice in how to bring in extra revenue to their household. I look forward to seeing my children grow strong and receiving a good education.”