Exactly one year ago this time I received a grant / merit award from VegFund for a project that support individuals and nonprofit organizations who are interested in vegan advocacy. My proposed project was an income generating training in soy/tofu making in a rural village in Burkina Faso, West Africa. More can be read about it at https://internationalesawyer.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/two-months-of-awareness/.
The training was a tremendous success and as word spread more women got involved. One such woman is featured here in this post. Her name is Bimbatta and is a mother of 3. Her husband passed away two months after the birth of their third child Sheikh. Shortly after he passed away Bimbatta found herself with no money, no place to stay, and no assets. In her husband’s ethic group when the husband passes away they are entitled to all possessions even the children. Therefore, the family along with all the materials found inside reclaimed Bimbatta the land, which her husband purchased. Bimbatta later told me that they left her with the currency equivalent of 5 USD to take care of her three kids and she had no job or any skills beyond childcare. After much pleading her husband’s family decided that they would leave her with her youngest two children and opted to adopt her oldest son instead.
When I met Bimbatta she was in attendance at one of our soy/tofu trainings last year June 2013. She later spoke with me stating that she has nothing and is staying with her sister. She said that she would like to learn how to make the soy/tofu, however she has no money to bay for the materials to get started. I told her not to worry because she can join the group of women that have started making the products and she can reimburse what she uses once she starts to make a profit.
Well that was a year ago and today Bimbatta is self-sufficient, as she has started a small enterprise called Soy Food Development. She sells soy yoghurt, soy couscous, soy kebabs, and many more soy based products. She makes the product based on order and she delivers at an agreed upon location. Today Bimbatta is a proud mother that can provide for her family. She can pay for the school fees for her two older children, she can provide food, pay her bills, and pay for medicine in case of illness.
I am very proud of her and the fact that a selfless act such as providing an income generating training has brought lasting hope.
Please enjoy a few photos.