Born with one leg shorter than the other, Solomon Jora has struggled with disability his whole life.

“The perception of my community towards persons like me is not positive. They considered me as somebody who could perform nothing,” says Solomon.

This attitude stripped Solomon of his independence and self-esteem, as he believed that he had no value.

Despite this Solomon worked hard as a labourer to convince his employers he was able to work to the same capacity as everyone else. He has also worked as a fisherman and a charcoal seller.

“Though I tried to prove people wrong and live a better life, I couldn’t,” says Solomon. “I returned to my village and got a small plot of land from my parents to work on agriculture.”

Solomon married Bezunesh and longed to live an “honoured family life,” however all his efforts were rewarded with only two small productions of maize a year.

“There wasn’t enough food to eat. As a family we were losing hope. With small children who needed us to fill their bellies, we were not able to taste the flavour of family life.”

Then, 18 months ago, Solomon heard about an organisation called Send a Cow that was working with the “poorest of the poor” in his community, and he was included in the programme.

“We were trained on how to farm the land, savings and credit, working in a group, family relationships and so much more that has changed our values and attitudes for the better.”

Solomon and his family worked hard on their land and started growing vegetables, which they’d never done before.

“We started to use the spring to grow vegetables and spices with high market values. From my previous harvest, I have sold vegetables and spices for more than Birr 5,000.00. I never counted one thousand Birr at a time before I joined the project. This is a miracle and the miracle will continue!”

Solomon has received three sheep from Send a Cow and bought an ox. His family are now planning on building a better house. His life has changed dramatically in just over a year.

“We have lived many years in this village without recognising the potential we have until Send a Cow came in to the picture. We have got training that brought to us knowledge and skills, and the right attitude to grow and live.”

Most significantly for Solomon he’s also seen the perception of him within his wider community change and grow.

“Before all I saw was my disability,” says Solomon. “Now there are people coming to my backyard to learn, so they can start growing vegetables of their own.”