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WINDS OF CHANGE

Partnership for growth

The impact of Cause Capitalism as a vehicle for change has created an indelible mark in societies across Kenya. Steve Down conceived the idea of for-profit organisations donating a percentage of their gross income to non-profits who would use this money for humanitarian purposes. With the assistance of partners and friends, Mr Steve Down founded The Goat Foundation, which over the years has touched the lives of thousands. Through a donation of a pair of goats to widows or orphans, the foundation is transforming lives and communities. One such recipient underwent rapid transformation in fortunes as opportunities opened all around her.

A Reversal in Fortunes

Sustainable livelihoods created

Sustainable livelihoods created

Today, she is employed at the local primary school as a cook and groundskeeper. She recently acquired this position after years of being turned away. After she lost her husband three years ago in a road accident, her life was turned upside-down. The local grocer no longer gave her credit, local women groups shunned her participation, and her long-time friends became distant towards her.

She couldn’t understand the reason. What did marriage or lack of it have to do with who she was as a person? While he was alive, her husband had taken care of her and her three children, and despite being educated, she had been comfortable working as a home keeper for her family.

After struggling for years to make ends meet and raise her three children, a local community organizer approached her with startling news. Apparently, a charitable foundation known as The Goat Foundation had identified her to be a recipient of a donation in form of two goats. All she had to do was present herself on a certain date at the local church.

A New Dawn

This had been six months ago. After being recognized as a vulnerable member and her plight as a widow discussed publicly, she was uplifted from obscurity and whispered shame. Overnight village elders, mothers and the local traders wanted to be associated with her. She was now recognized as a person.

The goats she received have since then given birth to two kids, one of which she donated to her neighbour. She milks her goats every day and uses the milk to prepare meals for children. She plans to sell the newborn goat once it matures and will use the income to pay for her two eldest children’s school fees.

In a phone interview with the writer, the empowered widow sounded joyous and full of life, “It was unbelievable how things changed for me. As soon as I received the goats from The Goat Foundation, I developed a new desire to work harder and be the best mother for my children. These goats give me the feeling of security in knowing that if I work hard my economic well-being will keep improving. I am really glad for The Goat Foundation; they gave me hope on one of the darkest days in my life”

 

 

Economic opportunity and social inclusion

Economic opportunity and social inclusion

The testimony by her is uplifting and invigorating. Members of The Goat Foundation listen to these testimonies with awe and a sense of deep fulfilment. It is evident that beyond alleviating poverty, The Goat Foundation is changing perceptions and stereotypes about women and widows in particular.

When Steve Down donated his first pair of goats to a family, his notion then had been to offer a means of daily sustenance to a bereaved mother and wife. He couldn’t envisage the change that would be realized within the communities that his foundation donated. The partners, cause contributors and donors towards The Goat Foundation all have a reason to smile. Their kind donations have contributed toward the economic empowerment of widows and a paradigm shift in societal perception and treatment of widows.

 

 

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