It was a proud day for 45-year-old Dorothy Sijambo Habat when her daughter came home with a university diploma.
“I finished school in fourth grade because my parents could not afford to keep me there, so it is very special for me that my girls are able to complete high school, and go on to third level,” she says.
Brenda (22) has now qualified as an accountant, and while she is currently looking for a job, her mother is confident that she is equipped to do well in life.
“With this qualification she has chances that were never open to me. I have worked hard on a small farm all my life. My work has made it possible to send all of my children to school, so it has been worthwhile.
“You have to pay for school in Uganda, but my husband Chiganbo and myself decided some years ago that we would invest any money we made from the farm in giving our children an opportunity that we didn’t have,” she explains.
Dorothy is a lead farmer who has been working with Self Help Africa in Kayunga district in Central Uganda for the past six years.
She received training in cassava production, and has planted cassava in a three-acre mother garden (nursery) on a plot that is 30 minutes walk from her home. She also grows coffee and matoke (banana) on a two-acre plot at her homestead.
Dorothy Sijambo has 10,000 cassava plants, and sells cuttings to other farmers in the locality. She hosts local demonstrations on cassava production, and recently hosted a workshop that brought 20 local farmers to her home.
She estimates a yield of 240 bags of cassava when her crop is ready to harvest next season, and says that she intends to keep 60 bags for home consumption, and sell the balance at the local market.
Dorothy and Chiganbo Habat built a new brick house from the sale of cassava and coffee, last year.
2014 is the UN Year of Family Farming