For one Bolivian family, breakfast is the happiest meals of the day — and chickens are to blame.
Carlos and Paulina Arispe are raising their two daughters, Noelia (age 4) and Rilda (age 5), in one of Bolivia’s poorest villages. Nearly 30 percent of children in this part of Bolivia are malnourished. So when the family started working with Food for the Hungry in 2014, battling hunger was at the top of their to-do list.
The Arispes are hard-working farmers who already had a vegetable garden and livestock. But they didn’t know much about nutrition. Families like theirs filled empty stomachs with potatoes and couldn’t afford protein sources like meat or dairy.
That’s where the gift of chickens made a difference!
Chicken Coop to the Rescue
FH staff visited the Arispe home and helped the family decide how to improve their daughters’ health. Paulina and Carlos learned about hygiene and nutrition, and how to improve their farming and gardening to increase crop yields. FH also provided them with a large 1,000-liter water tank (264 gallons) that helps irrigate the garden in Bolivia’s dry highland climate.
Paulina Arispe and her daughters.
But the chickens are what really excited the family. FH gave the family some laying hens to start, then trained the family on raising and caring for their poultry. As part of the bargain, the Arispes agreed to build a protective coop for the chickens, using their own income to pay for the low-cost, locally-available materials. Soon, they had eggs for breakfast each day.
“Rilda and Noelia run every day to get eggs from our hens,” Paulina says with excitement. The daily egg-run makes Paulina happy, she says, because she knows she’s doing something good for her girls.
The Arispe family chicken coop.
Ideas Catch Fire
When you help families like the Arispes, you do more than provide a healthier breakfast. The Arispes “learned that they have the ability to make change in their family,” says staff member Giovana Ajhuacho, one of FH’s facilitators in the region. And, the Arispes saw the benefit of giving rather than simply receiving handouts, by providing their own labor and materials for the chicken coop.
These key changes in attitude are infectious, especially when neighbors see results. FH staff report that neighbors are now building their own chicken coops to protect their birds (even if they didn’t receive hens from FH).
Most of all, FH staffer Giovana reports that Paulina and Carlos understand FH’s key message that “life is sacred,” and that their children are a gift from God.
You can help a families in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Kenya and India receive chickens and learn how to raise them. For $13 you can help a family get started with two chickens. Or for $37 you can help a Bolivian family that doesn’t have the means to buy chicken wire and wood to build their own coop!