CFCA stories

Kenyan farmer pumps up income with CFCA's help

March 14, 2011

Joel, a sponsored man in Kenya
Joel sells produce from his farm to a local market. CFCA sponsorship
enabled the 58-year-old to save and buy a water pump for his farm.

Joel, 58, struggled most of his life to get by. When he became sponsored in 2007 through CFCA’s Hope for a Family program in Kenya, he was determined to change his life.

He now supports himself by selling produce he can grow using a water pump. He saved some of his sponsorship funds to purchase the pump.

As a child, Joel had no place to call home. His father did not own land and the family moved from one place to another. When his mother passed away and his stepmother started mistreating him and his four siblings, he moved to another village. Eventually, he married and had four children.

"I knew that I had to work hard so that I would give my children a better life than the one I had," Joel said.

He worked odd jobs for low wages to sustain himself and his family.

Joel and his water pump in Kenya
Joel operates his new water pump. "It is
so much easier to water my crops now,"
he says.

"I did all I could to put food on the table and have a roof over our heads," Joel said.

In 1994, Joel and his wife divorced. Joel was overwhelmed with the responsibility of raising four children alone. Members of his community saw his need, and took him to the CFCA office. When the CFCA social workers visited his home and saw his circumstances, they enrolled Joel in the CFCA sponsorship program for the elderly.

"The current life expectancy in Kenya is about 58.8 years, and the age of retirement was only recently raised from 55 to 60. While 58 is not considered to be very old in the U.S., Joel is considered elderly in Kenya," said Janet Tinsley, CFCA project director for Kenya.

CFCA sponsorship was just the boost Joel needed to improve his life.

"My enrollment in the sponsorship program in 2007 meant a lot to me,” Joel said. “I was determined to change my life with the financial assistance from my sponsor. I have always loved farming, but it was hectic for me to fetch water from the river each day to water my plants. I decided to save some of my sponsorship funds and buy a water pump to help."

Earlier this year, Joel was able to save the full amount to purchase the pump. "It is so much easier to water my crops,” Joel said. “My shamba (farm) is very productive and through the sale of my crops at the nearby market, I am able to sustain myself."

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