Nelly Bassily | November 2, 2009
Clauna, Virginia, and Christelle feared that their families would never escape poverty. Each of these women is a single mother. They raise their children in a suburb of Port Louis, the capital of Mauritius. Outside their doors are drug dealers and sex workers. The women are determined to make a better life for their children. And they have, by raising chickens and selling eggs.
Clauna is 19. Her child is one year old. She worries about her son being exposed to drugs and sex workers. Clauna doesn’t want him to be raised in poverty and lured by the promise of easy money.
Her path out of poverty began with a bank loan. A social worker assisted Clauna, Virginia, and Christelle to apply for the loan. The bank agreed to lend them money to start a poultry farm. Now, each woman keeps 24 chickens. They earn money by selling eggs.
Clauna says it was not easy to get customers at first. But people began to realize that the women took their business seriously. And they sold their eggs at a good price – four rupees (about 13 American cents or 0.09 Euros) each. Clauna says this was the secret to retaining customers.
Virginia has four children. The money she earns from selling eggs is not a lot. But it has been enough to pay her children’s school tuition. The important thing, she says, is that they are on the right track. Virginia says they will continue to fight for better living conditions.
For her part, Christelle acknowledges that life hasn’t been easy. She says she has been wounded, but she will not give up. Christelle saved some money to expand her poultry operation. She now has 24 hens and some growing chicks. She says she wants to go further in life. Her goal is to be a woman who can stand on her own two feet.
The women hope to grow their business. They intend to double their egg production, so they can earn more money for their families, and continue on their path out of poverty.