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Changing her life with goats

Liberia, March 17, 2010

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Nancy Farese for Mercy Corps  </span>
    Victoria Dannies received valuable agriculture training through Mercy Corps' YES program. Photo: Nancy Farese for Mercy Corps
  • 
  <span class="field-credit">
    Nancy Farese for Mercy Corps  </span>
    “Mercy Corps taught me how to care for them,” says Victoria, holding a healthy-looking kid on her lap. Photo: Nancy Farese for Mercy Corps

Victoria Dannies, 33, is divorced, with three daughters and two sons. Thanks to the training she received in Mercy Corps’ Youth Education for Life Skills (YES) program, she’s able to take good care of herself and her children.

Victoria learned how to raise goats, and she now breeds and raises them to sell at market. “Mercy Corps taught me how to care for them,” says Victoria, holding a healthy-looking kid on her lap. “I go into the bush and break off the cassava leaves and husks and bring them back to feed the goats. And,” she adds, “I learned how to cure them when they get the cough or the running stomach. I get the antibiotic and put it in their water, and they drink it and get better.”

Victoria keeps one male and a few females to breed. She raises the offspring for a year before selling them for meat; a mid-sized goat brings more than $2,000 LD [$30 to $40 US] – a fortune by local standards. Her little herd is thriving; when we spoke with Victoria, she had six pregnant females, each of which will give birth to two kids. After a year, Victoria will have 12 goats to sell.

With the money she’s earning, Victoria is providing for her family. “I have two children who are big enough to walk the 45 minutes to school,” she says, adding proudly, “I pay their school fees, I buy their clothes, and I can take them to the hospital if I need to.”

“This Mercy Corps program is good,” says Victoria. “I tell them thank you.” With a little boost and her own hard work, she (and her kids) are growing a solid future for her children.