Help the Family Stay Together! – by Dean Beveridge

In October 2012 I traveled with my family to China.  During this trip we had the privilege of visiting a development project that we as a family had sponsored through CAPTIVATING.  The project involved the provision of training and start up capital for agriculture and farming initiatives. Impoverished villagers were given a grant of livestock (e.g. pigs, cows, chickens etc).  They were then trained how to raise the livestock and turn it into a sustainable income for their family.  As part of the project the families have committed to ‘pass on the gift’ during the first 2 years of the project.  In this way they will pass on the same number of livestock that they received to another poor family.

In China poverty often causes the families to be split up.  Many times Dad and/or Mum are forced to leave the village and travel to the city to work for the family to survive.  Children are often left with elderly grandparents.

The first family we visited consisted of a grandmother, father and two children (see picture 3 below).  The mother was in a distant city working.  The conditions were very poor.  Cooking was done on a fire on the floor with a hole in the roof.  The floor in all rooms was dirt. Beds and bed linen was small and very old.  The grandmother was very old (in her eighties – see picture 2) and quite frail.  The young boy (9 years old) shared that he helps feed the 2 pigs (see me/Dean with the pigs – picture 1) in the morning before walking 40 minutes to school.  He then walks back 40 minutes for lunch and chores then back again for afternoon classes.  He is walking for 2 hours 40 minutes per day plus doing chores.  We asked him how often he saw his mother and he said once a year for 2-3 weeks.  He said he really missed her. Over time it is the aim of this project to develop this families income so that the mother can return to the family.  How exciting to be part of reuniting a family!!!

The second family had received 4 pigs (picture 5).  They were also vegetable farmers.  I was thrilled to see the entire family (grandparents, parents and daughter) together (picture 6) working hard to prepare their vegetables for market.  They had their young 3 year old daughter  (picture 4) well dressed and groomed with them.  I asked the father for his reflections on the project.  He said that it was helping them have a positive future.  He said his aim was to build up his pig and chicken farm and continue his vegetable market business.  As part of this project a new concrete road has been constructed in the village.  The father mentioned that this has greatly improved the profitability of his business as he can now complete two trips to market each day thereby doubling revenue.  The father mentioned he would also like to prepare to pass on the gift and also eventually purchase a small truck to transport his produce.  The family’s future was clearly improving substantially due to the support they were receiving.  I then questioned him about his dreams for his daughter and mentioned that I was encouraged that the family was together and that he did not have to leave the daughter to go to the city.  I said that I believed it was good for his family to be together.  He agreed with me and said he wanted to support his daughter to go as far as she wanted with education.  He mentioned he would support her to go to university.  This was SO encouraging to me as the family was together with the means to dream of a brighter future for themselves and their children.  What a privilege to play a small part in helping this family stay together. I’d encourage you and your families to get behind this work. Andrew tells me more donors are still needed to fully fund this project. US$40 a month is all it takes. I can’t recommend this enough as a genuine investment to end family poverty. (written by Dean Beveridge).


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