Leandro Oliveira and his family live in Maumetalau hamlet in Liquiçá district where, like most of their neighbors, he and his wife Angelita Vidigal depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Life has been hard for the family in the past when they earned only about $5 a week selling cassava and vegetables. And even that small amount was not guaranteed in the long Timor-Leste dry season, which lasts from May to November. During these months there is no water in their village, so they walk three kilometers to the next village to get water to drink, cook and bathe. Any runoff from washing is use to water their small vegetable garden; but, honestly, there were not good harvests, which was especially bad for the children, who are just two and four.
Now Leandro and Angelita are part of Timor Zero Hunger activities and, like other families who have partnered with CWS to improve their lives, they are now raising chickens and growing more vegetables: some to eat and some to sell. “Our life has changed for the better since this project started,” says Leandro. “We now raise chickens and plant more vegetables, like morning glory, chili, tomatoes and eggplant. Already our chicken laid some eggs, which we ate, and the hen had four chicks, which we are raising.”
Of course Leandro and Angelita started their journey to a better diet for themselves and their young children by joining learning-training activities led by district agriculture office extension workers and CWS team members. There was a lot of information and wisdom within the community already – though some of the information is not ‘state of the art’. So, together Leandro and others learned some new things, too, about chicken-raising and horticulture, including how to make and use organic fertilizer and pest control mix; how to compost, and how to better select different seeds for different season.
When CWS team members were talking with Leandro about how he feels things are going for his family, he said, “This is the first time that we ever received support from an organization like CWS, so I would like to thank CWS for your presence and support.”
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