Home News & Updates Entrepreneurship: From Poverty to Empowerment

Entrepreneurship: From Poverty to Empowerment


Written by: Renee Heemskerk – International Partnership Manager

When Philip Timoti (the Director of our partner UPHOLD) told me that I would be part of a village goat distribution, I was elated. I would be handing out goats provided by Canadians through Partners International’s Hope in Action catalogue.


The car stopped at the bottom of a dirt path where our climb took a mere ten minutes to the village of Saura tribal people waiting for us. One by one we handed out pairs of pregnant goats, or goats with kids to the women while I asked their names and snapped photos. It was a great experience.


Many of the women receiving goats that day were elderly widows, and very very poor – earning maybe a dollar or two a day if they were able to find work in the fields. One goat would be worth over three months wages. I asked what their plans were and they shared – most wanted to multiply the goats and sell off the males in the local markets. With the profits they would fix their houses, buy food and clothes, send their grandchildren to school. To some, owning a goat will create financial security and freedom from the constant anxieties that often plague the poor –’What will we eat tomorrow?’ ‘What will happen if I get sick?’ ‘What will I do when I’m too old to work?’ To others they will give strength to carry on, help that is desperately needed and some happiness. And still to others they are an answered prayer from a God who remembers the lowly and downtrodden.

Joy naturally filled me as I stood there watching women receive goats. I could see this was a significant moment of kindness for them that would change their lives. And for anyone who has questioned – Do the animals I give to Partner International actually get to the people who need them? I can confidently say yes.

You can equip a National Worker sharing the gift of hope at HopeInAction.ca