Update from Lesotho September 2016 When we asked for your help in response to the emergency in Lesotho earlier this year, the situation was desperate. El Niño (the climate cycle that has affected weather patterns globally) had so drastically disrupted rainfall patterns that over a third of the population was at risk of hunger and malnutrition. Our emergency appeal for Lesotho The drought meant that the majority of farmers had not been able to plant the cereal crops they depended on, and had affected the quantity and quality of water available. We asked you to help us train families to grow vegetables in a way that would provide them with a reliable supply of food. Your response was astounding. Rather than the £60,000 we were hoping to raise so we could work with families to help them survive and thrive, the total was well over £80,000. What Send a Cow did next When the rains finally came, it was too late for this year’s cereal crops. So we encouraged farmers to plant vegetables that would grow more quickly, enough to feed them and even create surplus they could sell, too. (The image at the top of the page shows one of the farmers surrounded by her vegetables.) We’ve already told you about the success of the planting. Now we want to pass on the latest encouraging update from our team in Lesotho. It shows some of the other ways our farmers are diversifying how they make money - reducing their dependency on the crops they’ve traditionally grown. Chicken farming in the Leribe district The Mpolokeng Kheola group came up with the idea of farming chickens as an alternative source of income. The group invested M2,800 in May to buy a batch of 100 chickens along with feed and equipment. After just six weeks, the chickens were ready for market. Each was sold for M50, making the group a fabulous profit of M2,200. Encouraged by their success, the group went on to rear enough chickens to be able to take 100 chickens to market every two weeks. This has meant that they are now earning enough to feed themselves reliably. Jewellery production in the Butha-Buthe district The Ha Sefako group is in the Butha-Buthe district, where most people depend on agriculture. As a result of climate change, crop production in the area has declined in the last few years. Through income generation training sessions with Send a Cow, the group realised there was a huge business opportunity locally. Nobody was selling jewellery in the local market, and people who wanted to buy necklaces, bracelets and earrings had to travel to town. The group decided to attend a five-day training course to learn how to make bead jewellery. They now produce beautiful products which have been a big success at local markets. Thank you so much for your generous support. It has helped our farmers in Lesotho develop the resilience to feed themselves - and develop successful new businesses.