Yosber Sae and Esther Kikhau are a fortysomething couple who live in a remote hamlet in far southeastern Indonesia on the island of Timor. They have three children: Riski Rivan Sae, 18; Raiden Sae, 8 and Ririn January Sae, 4. Before joining CWS-organized Timor Zero Hunger activities a few years ago, the family was raising chickens and pigs. However, since they had no formal knowledge of animal husbandry and none of their animals were immunized, most had died. When Zero Hunger team members met them, Yosber and Esther had only four chickens left and, since they were quire poor, they were prioritized by their fellow villagers, to join project activities – and receive additional chickens, once they had learned about proper care for them.
Says Yosber, “When CWS offered us chickens we were happy to accept them because we had a chance to learn how the raise them in a coop, which we made ourselves, but with CWS staff guidance. Before, we let our chickens roam around unvaccinated … and maybe that’s why they died. But, along with coop-building, we learned about immunization and how to make sure the flock stays healthy. Slowly but surely our flock grew. Now, we have more than 70 chickens – and a lot has happened since we started with our own four chickens and the ones CWS gave us. In May 2016 we sold four mature roosters to buy a sow [and, after she was impregnated for her first litter], we sold three piglets for 900,000 Rupiah ($64) and used the money for Riski’s vocational high school education in Soe.”
With help from CWS and our generous donors, Yosber Sae’s family and many others in Enonabuasa have measurably better lives. Among other things, they have access to safe water, which means they can grow more and more nutritious vegetables: some to eat and some to sell. More people are now also more aware of the nutritional value of vegetables, chicken meat and eggs – which are now more plentiful and valued to improve children’s diets and not just to sell (which was the priority when families had far smaller flocks). Now families eat eggs two or three times each week and chicken meat with increasing regularity.
Yosber’s and Esther’s family, they say that the most important change in their lives is newfound hope in the future and a new focus on planning ahead. “We are determined to raise more animals: chickens, pigs and cows. We have learned about vegetable gardening, organic fertilizer and pesticides, and how to make healthy snacks using local ingredients,” says Esther. “I also joined a CWS-supported women savings group; and I just feel more hopeful now. We have more food, the children are rarely sick, and soon our oldest daughter will attend college in the provincial capital. We’re also happy and proud that Riski, who is back home and working, is also active as a Peer Educator for health and wellness among the girls here. She helps them talk about early marriage and teen pregnancy, which are issues in our community, which we need to address [for a better future for us all].”
In continuing efforts to help communities address basic issues of hunger and malnutrition among children and women of childbearing age primarily, and with Disciples of Christ Week of Compassion strong support, CWS has expanded the Timor Zero Hunger project to focus particularly on women and girls for their wellbeing and empowerment – especially for their health and their families’ livelihoods and hope.
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