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Noella’s story: ‘How chickens changed my life’

Noella stands in her school yard.

Can a couple of chickens really change a life? Ask Noella, 18, and she’ll tell you “yes!”

Noella dreams of becoming a doctor. But growing up in Rwanda, where she and her family are limited by the cycle of poverty, has made achieving this dream difficult.

Read Noella’s story – shared in her own words – of how she has gotten one step closer to achieving her dream, with the help of Plan… and a couple of chickens.

I am the second born child in a family of 7 children. As the eldest sister, I have to look after my younger siblings. I cook for them, wash them, wash their clothes and I hardly have any time to study for my lessons. It’s not easy for my parents to meet all the needs of such a big family. With 5 of us at school, paying for school materials and fees is a burden for them.

Once I had finished my grade 6 classes, my parents could not afford to pay my new school fees, so I had to drop out and stay at home.

Planning change with chickens
Noella sits in her classroom.

After a year of doing chores, my grandmother managed to pay my fees for the first year of secondary studies, but getting enough school materials was not easy. The following year, my parents supported my second year in a boarding school, but getting all the school materials I needed was still a challenge.

To help my parents pay for my school fees, I decided to start rearing chickens – but I had no money to start the business.

One day, I was selected to be part of a catch-up study group organized by Plan. We studied the lessons we had failed at school. We also learned the importance of having a goal in life and doing our best to pursue it. Inspired by this, I decided to save the funds Plan had provided for the transportation costs to the workshop, and start my small chicken rearing business project.

Roosters at the root of education
A girl with a baby chick

I bought three chickens at first – now there are 8 and I hope they will continue to multiply. I sell 1 or 2 every time the school term starts to help my parents with the fees. I can also now buy myself books and soap. My parents cover the rest, but they are very proud of me.

I hope that I will be the last one to drop out of school in my family because I know how painful it is to see others going to school while you have to stay behind.

I want to become a doctor. If I manage to rear more chickens I will use the money to buy books and other school materials. I want to expand my business and I am sure that after 3 years I will be able to pay for all my school materials for not only myself, but also my siblings.

Crack open a brighter future with a Gift of Hope!

By purchasing a Gift of Hope like baby chicks, you can support the livelihood of someone like Noella – providing a source of income and nutrition, and helping them build a better life.

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