Beatrice Auma Ochieng lives in Rongo, Kenya with her two daughters. She was tragically widowed at the age of 17 while pregnant with her first child.

Beatrice totally depended on her husband to provide for her. After his death, his family tried to persuade Beatrice to marry one of his relatives. When she refused, they abandoned her.

Beatrice turned to manual labour which earned her $1 a day. She often went without food. After giving birth to her daughter, Mary, Beatrice had no choice but to carry her as she worked in the fields.

"Life was unbearable, I lost hope to live but had to soldier on for my daughter."

In 2012 Beatrice joined a support group, whose members were mainly widows. The group were given initial agricultural training by local government officials, who also put them in touch with Send a Cow’s Wealth Creation Project.

Beatrice earned $40 from her first rice harvest. She used the money to buy her daughter's first ever pair of shoes, plus school uniform and school fees. Beatrice’s self-confidence blossomed and she started to build a cow shelter for the cow she was to receive from Send a Cow. 

"I was one of the first farmers in the group to get a dairy calf. Me, of all people, owning a dairy cow! It was a dream."

Beatrice had not drunk milk since childhood. Her daughter, Mary, was in and out of hospital as a baby with malnutrition. But now, they can drink milk whenever they wish.

Beatrice gets 12 litres of milk a day. She keeps two litres for her family, sells four
from her house and sells the remainder through the dairy marketing hub. Proceeds from her surplus dairy and vegetables have enabled Beatrice to open her very first bank account, where she is able to save money.

"I am most proud of my house. People use to despise me and could never visit because I lived in a very poor shelter. Today, they flock to my home to buy vegetables, milk and admire my house."

Beatrice loathes the typical life of a woman in western Kenya, which she says is full of poverty, hunger, abuse, inequality and dependence. She only received primary school training herself, but is determined to educate her daughters to the highest possible level.

"It is by God’s grace, and I deeply thank Send a Cow Kenya for relieving me of such a deplorable past. With my knowledge, skills and a dairy cow, I cannot see myself going back to such a life, never again."

 

See more beautiful photographs of Beatrice in our online gallery