‘‘Even if Send a Cow left today, we’d be ok. Send a Cow would never really leave because our training and knowledge would stay. It lasts forever’’

Zephario and Gladys live in Kenya with their eight children. The couple run an impressive 1.5 acre farm with rows of flourishing soy beans, banana trees, kale and cowpeas. They used to make less than a dollar a day labouring on other peoples land, now they earn around $50 a week and are eating better than they’ve ever done before.

‘‘Life used to be hard. We worked as labourers on other people’s land for very little money. When there was no work, we went hungry and we’d argue. It was so stressful. When we started working with Send a Cow our lives started changing…’’ explains Zephario.

Vegetables mean both food and income for the family. Last year they planted kale and made 250,000 Ksh ($250) from that one crop alone which helped pay for their children’s school fees.

‘‘I used to admire people who drank milk’’ says Gladys. Now, she’s one of them.

Zephario and Gladys are putting lots of Send a Cow techniques into practice. They have a compost heap filled to the brim, which Zephario uses to nourish his crops and even sells some of it to other farmers. Next to the kitchen is a keyhole garden, perfectly located so that Gladys can pick her vegetables and herbs quickly to use in her cooking rather than traipse down to the fields.

Gladys uses an energy saving stove to cook her vegetables. The smoke is funnelled outside of the building and Gladys is proud to show how the design of the stove requires far less firewood than the stove she used to have.

The family own two dairy cows: one is called Cherie, named after a Send a Cow volunteer and the other, a brown cow, is named Pamela. Milk not only means nutrition but also manure and money for the family as they sell the surplus milk.

The number of different income streams the family have developed is hugely impressive and helps the them to avoid difficult situations, like if certain crops fail. And, Zephario and Gladys’ plans and ambitions are growing as quickly as they’re vegetables! They’re developing a small tree nursery, growing eucalyptus saplings which they plan on selling to other farmers. It’s a new initiative which they hope will make them 6000 Ksh this year.

‘‘To be successful, you need to have a good relationship with your family so you can work together" explains Zephario. ‘‘Now, we support each other and our children.’’

It’s not just their farm that’s strengthened. ‘‘Our relationship has improved. We used to have a lot of fights. Sometimes we wouldn’t talk to each other for days but now we’re happy and the fighting has stopped’’ the couple say.

As well as putting their children through school, they’ve managed to save around $180. They’re not just surviving, they’re thriving – and they're helping others too.

‘‘Now I am philanthropic. I give people a gift when they see me. I’ve changed from receiving to giving. I train my friends in Send a Cow techniques and some have asked to join our group’’ explains Zephario.

The Send a Cow Wealth Creation project that Zephario and Gladys were part of has now come to an end. But when asked how they feel about this, Gladys confidently says ‘‘Even if Send a Cow left today, we’d be ok. They would never really leave because our training and knowledge would stay. It lasts forever’’.