The Chicken & the Egg Project- Mi Ella, Sri Lanka (June, 2012)

by tkos on August 16, 2012

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For the first time, The Kindness of Strangers have invested in a community project, without the aid of the an established on the ground NGO. Sometimes, there is just no organised help around but at least there are the right people.

We found Firdouse, an English teacher, in the small village of Mi Ella, near Wallasmulla in Southern Sri Lanka via the couch surfing network. He was willing to give us a bed to sleep in and we were happy to teach his volunteer evening English class to local young adults. Through late night conversation, he began to detail the circumstance of a poor woman and her family in the community. The Kindness of Strangers do not give cash to anybody, although sometimes it is tempting. It is within our ethos, only to give people a head start in a program or project where they will benefit rewards based on the work that they put into the project. We want to help people help themselves, we are not here to give out handouts.

Home for a couple hours while the dog gets used to the chickens

Therefore, we were delighted to begin the Chicken and the Egg Project! We bought 19 hens and 1 rooster from a total of three different families in the community. Of this, we gave 1 rooster and 10 hens to Sujeewa (a local carpenter with a wife and small sick child) and the other 9 hens to a mother of four children, all girls except for the 16 year old son. This family lived in something similar to a shed, with only a candle for light. Every day the children went to school and the mother collected cardboard and bags to gain what little money comes in from recycling. Two weeks prior to our arrival, Firdouse had bought her a rooster and two hens. With the nine additional hens from us, the family were now a proud owner of a little farm and there is now hope for a future income.

Already reaping the benefits, within hours

Nothing comes for free though, and there is a catch with this deal as well. In order for the families to receive the chickens, they also have to commit to giving another poor family in the community ten chickens and a rooster from the offspring of their own farm. Once they have done this, their payment is complete. The carpenter agreed to continually find families beyond the first one and in addition, build them all chicken coups as well.

Twelve hours after we left town, we were delighted to hear that the chickens had already starting laying eggs for the families. We look forward to updates from Firdouse and Sujeewa as more and more families in the community benefit from this project.

The total cost of the project was £60. So much reward for so little money.

With this success, we continues the project in Kilinochi, in the north of Sri Lanka. This is one Sri Lanka’s most affected area from the 30 year war between the Tamil Tigers and the government.  We found two families that fit the criteria of The Chicken & the Egg project and bought another 19 chickens and one rooster (as one family already had a rooster). In addition we bought a fully built chicken coup for a friendly and safe environment for the chickens at night. Firdouse, our project manager in the south, agreed to monitor the Kilinochi part of the project for us, some 600km away from his house. t is that kind of spirit that is absolutely priceless to The Kindness of Strangers.

The Kilinochi project cost £120.


The Kilinochi family with their new coup

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