Big dreams

Big dreams

MASERU-For many women taking care of orphaned children, life is a struggle. They often hardly have enough to feed themselves, let alone provide for the orphans left under their care.
Touched by their plight, businesswoman and politician ‘Manoosi Khetsi decided to lend a helping hand by establishing a poultry project for women.

“I was moved by the uncomfortable conditions endured by the HIV/AIDS orphans and the women taking care of them. What came to my mind was a poultry project because of its low running costs and good returns,” she says.
She was referring to a project she started in 2014 called Kopanang Ramohapi Broilers Association, comprising of 11 women from her Likila Community Council who bought into the idea when she pitched it to them.

“They were very impressed,” Khetsi, a local councillor, says.
Khetsi says she kick-started the project by buying 50 broilers and the feed using her personal funds. The birds were soon sold out and the project was off to a flying start.
“There was no turning back,” says the 55-year-old Khetsi.

“After every two weeks, we order broilers and there is no shortage in the market in between,” Khetsi says, adding that the women now keep a batch of 500 broilers a month.
Their market now stretches beyond Likila Council to include areas such as Butha- Buthe district and the women plan to breed 1 000 birds a month.
Training from non-governmental organisation, Gender Links, came in handy.

“I amassed a lot of information from the training,” Khetsi says.
She says she applied the skills from the training to win elections in the council and run the project.
“I contested the elections with men and defeated them. It was because of the training that I gathered the courage to stand in the elections,” she says with a smile.

The training also helped equip her with skills in business finance and the importance of keeping savings.
“I was already in love with business… the training further honed my skills.”
The high cost of feed is proving a challenge, although the women are determined to make it big despite the hurdles, she said.

“Feeding is a challenge because the feeds are costly,” Khetsi says, adding that the women have approached the Minister of Social Development ‘Matebatso Doti for help.
“We have short arms but big dreams,” Khetsi says.
To ensure diversity, the women are planning to use the land they have to grow crops such as sorghum.

“We need to diversify the products so that we can cover a wider market. It is all about hard work that we have reached this far,” Khetsi says.

Majara Molupe

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