The harsh realities of life in rural Africa cause many to grow up too quickly; this was the case for Zambian Sydney Kalota, who lost both parents in quick succession as a teenager.
Sydney (now aged 22) recalls that when his mother passed away, he was left without any relatives close by to support him. Left alone, he did the only thing he knew to survive:
“I just started farming and growing food in the field my mother left behind.”
From this modest plot, Sydney managed to grow enough to feed himself. And now, after years of hard work, the land is finally starting to reward his toil.
For the last two years he has been supported on this journey by Self Help Africa as part of a project running in his isolated village, Nsunda.
Through the project Sydney has accessed training and new varieties of soya beans, groundnuts and millet.
By planting these new crops alongside his existing cassava, he found his harvest this year more resiliant to the unpredictable rainfall in Nothern Zambia and was able to grow enough to feed himself and even earn a modest profit.
Sydney isn’t rushing to spend this money, instead he is saving with a purpose: to expand the modest one-room home he currently lives in.
Recently engaged to be married, the need for a larger home is a priority and he hopes to have saved the amount needed (just £60) within two years.
For someone who has spent a lot of time alone, the prospect of married life is clearly one the young farmer is looking forward to:
“When I get married, life will be easier – I will no longer be alone…We can work together in the field and grow more.”
We wish Sydney best of luck with married life and thanks to your support, we can continue working with hardworking farmers like him across sub-Saharan Africa.