Last year, Elijah completed form 4 studies and scored an impressive B grade, earning himself a spot at a Kenyan university. Had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic, Elijah would have already started his classes at this time.
“I hope to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at Kenyatta University,” he tells us. “As a child, I suffered from incessant ear problems, and this has caused me to want to help people suffering from chronic illnesses.”
Thanks to the pandemic, the extra-long wait to join university has motivated Elijah to seek other ways to keep himself busy. He chanced upon a friend’s YouTube channel about all things chicken-rearing. When he learned that his friend was making money from this venture, Elijah’s interested was piqued. And so, he reached out to his friend to learn more, who was eager to walk Elijah through the ups, downs, and challenges of raising chickens.
“My friend had grown his brood to around 500 and he was making decent money out of it. He sent me some notes to read through about the process. I used these to develop a business proposal and when I felt I was ready, I reached out to Margie – Moja Tu’s Kenyan program coordinator – to see if the organization could help me with part of the capital needed to start the venture. I had a little money that I had saved while I was in high school, but I needed more to get the business of the ground.”
We were very impressed to see Elijah’s initiative and business-mindedness, and we quickly obligated his request. His sponsor, Miranda, was excited about the project and agreed to fund it. Elijah started in September with 45 mature chicken and 64 one-month-old chicks. Today, Elijah has a brood of 125 chickens, which continues to grow every day.
Elijah, who was orphaned at a very young age, plans to leave the project under the care of his grandmother in Nakuru when he goes back to school. “The chickens are getting ready to lay eggs. This is great news because these will not only supplement my family’s diet, but the proceeds from the eggs will also help to sustain our home,” he says. “I also plan to put a little money from the venture towards my own savings to help me through college.
An egg goes for Ksh15 ($0.15) and a month-old chick goes for Ksh250 ($2.5). Eventually, he will sell matured cocks at Ksh1,000 ($10) and with the holiday season just around the corner, he is sure to make a killing, pun intended.
Elijah reveals that rearing chickens has come with several unexpected perks. He says that tending to the poultry has taught him virtues such as patience and responsibility, and that he learns a new thing every day. “For example, the chickens sometimes fall sick and taking care of them until they recover aligns with my passion in nursing. I am now a more informed person about my chosen field thanks to this project!”
Elijah is grateful to his sponsor Miranda for funding this project and to the Moja Tu staff for mentoring and believing in him through this process.