From: Biniam Tekle (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Jan 16 2009 - 11:00:32 EST
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From: Biniam Tekle <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 10:24 AM
Subject: (Shabait.org) Overcoming Numerous Challenges: Nigisti's Story
To: Dehai Eritrea OnLine <firstname.lastname@example.org>
*Overcoming Numerous Challenges: Nigisti's Story
*Simon Mesfun, Jan 16, 2009
Life is always a challenge. Some face tough challenges, others mild ones.
But for Nigisti, a visually impaired and divorced mother of two, every
minute of her life is a challenge.
She was born in 1970 in Adi-Segdo, a village in the outskirts of the
capital. She was attending school until she joined the struggle for
independence at the age of 14. There, she took basic training and joined
"Birgade 70." Given her age, she didn't join the infantry until after some
months. Nigisti was in active combat when she got injured in May 1988 and
lost both eyes.
Then she went to Sudan for treatment but unfortunately it didn't workout.
Upon her return to Sahel, she gave birth to a girl in 1990. Soon after
independence she returned with her daughter to her village, Adi-Segdo. A
year later, when she gave birth to her second daughter, her husband had
already abandoned her. Next to her loss of sight, that was probably the
hardest challenge to Nigisti.
Eventually, Nigisti had to do come up with some thing to live and she came
with the idea of running a small scale poultry farm. In 1995, she bought 20
chicks with the money she saved from her pocket money. "I remember I started
up with a capital of only 100 Birr," she said.
At the time, her daughters were 5 and 3 years old.
"It is not easy for someone to understand exactly the hardships I faced in
starting the business. But I didn't have any other option except to fight,"
she said. She however noted that she had assistance from her family at home
After two years of ups and downs, she managed to increase the number of
chicks to 50. She always looked for opportunities that could help her manage
her business and family. So when the National Association for the Visually
Impaired offered a chance for training on poultry farming, weaving and
music, Nigisti took it without hesitation and attended for six months.
"I was extremely happy and joined the training on poultry farming and music.
I felt that it satisfied my eagerness to develop skills that could match my
disability," she added.
After the training, the association provided the trainees with interest free
loan, and Nigisti borrowed 15,000 Nfa. She decided to continue with poultry
farming as she had some experience. So, with the loan she got from the
association, she improved her farm and bought additional 100 chicks from the
Ministry of Agriculture Central Region branch.
Nigisti had an advantage: she had land allotted to her by Tiesa, which is
why in the first place the Association granted the loan. She built a living
room, a bedroom and a toilet; the rest was used for the poultry farm.
In spite of her disability, Nigisti lost only two chickens in the two years
since she bought the 100 in 1998. And she sold the remaining 98 in 2000
after they had stopped laying eggs.
At that time she increased her chickens to 400. Nigisti replaces the broody
chickens every two years. Through such a process, Nigisti has brought the
number to 600 at present.
Nigisti kept working hard and paid up her debt in 2004. That doubtlessly
makes her the only successful farmer of her fellow visually impaired
The no-peace-no-war situation in the country brought an economic challenge
to Nigisti. And to overcome some of the problems she borrowed 30,000 Nakfa
with interest free from the Ministry of Labor and Human Welfare.
"I'm sure I will pay back the loan in a short time," Nigisti says
Considering her physical conditions, one could ask how she manages to run
the farm. Nigisti said that she organizes her neighbors' children and gives
them monetary incentives to help her with some difficult tasks.
"I always work hard not to involve my children in the poultry farming, I
only want them to study and reach the highest level. Whatever it takes, I
try to do my job right," said Nigisti and expressed her hopes to see her
children become well-educated.
Nigisti proved to be an inspiration to the association.
Mr. Gurja Tesfaslasie, from the association, says that the association has
plans to participate in poultry farming in the Adi-Segdo area. They had made
the necessary preparations to start with 2000 chickens; but due to the
increase in price of chicks and their feed, they have started with only 200
and already found it very productive.
"Based on our experience of the first 200, we are planning to increase the
number to 1000," he said.
Mr. Gurja further said that the association plans to provide two-month
trainings to 20 visually impaired people, and eventually train 80 per year.
In this world of fast-paced career changes and job insecurity, visually
impaired people need the latest tools and information to succeed in the job
market. Nigisti used the occasion and said that she still needs help from
interested nationals as well as other organizations.
She specifically called on the National Union of Eritrean Women (NUEW) to
encourage and assist women with disability by providing them with materials
they needed the most.
"I desperately need an incubator, for instance, and I would very much
appreciate it if they could help get one," Nigisti recommends.
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