Livelihoods

Cause and Effect

Kids go to bed hungry because they don’t have enough food. That’s basic enough. But why don’t they have food? The answer to that question is complicated. Often, their parents need money to buy food, and they need a way to earn that money. But because many of them didn’t finish school, can’t read and have no training, they can’t get jobs that pay well.

It isn’t enough to provide food for today if we don’t help families find ways to provide food for themselves tomorrow. That’s why we help both children and adults find ways to make the money they need to provide for themselves.

Earning a Living

What does a poverty-ending, cycle-breaking livelihood look like? It can take many forms. Usually it’s very simple. And sometimes it’s a rooster.

Featured in Feed the Children’s gift catalog, the “chicken module” is an example of opportunity through livelihood development. It works like this:

  • A generous donor purchases a rooster and 10 hens for a family.
  • The staff in a country identifies a family to receive the chickens.
  • The chickens provide the family with fresh eggs and meat.
  • What the family doesn’t eat, they sell.
  • When the chickens have chicks, the family pays it forward by giving a set to another family, who begin their own chicken module.

And on it goes. We see families paying it forward multiple times and even providing the meat, milk and eggs needed for their school’s feeding program!

We help families build businesses of all kinds:

  • Crafts: Making and selling beadwork, soap and clothes provide steady incomes for women in villages and towns.
  • Farming: Through pay-it-forward gifts of animals, including chickens, bees, cows, goats and tilapia, along with education on the best way to care for these animals, we help kids and adults alike grow livestock businesses. We also teach and provide training in plant farming, including teaching Filipinos to harvest and sell seaweed for cosmetics production. We also help women learn what to plant in a family plot to provide a balanced diet for their kids and teach children through school and community gardens.
  • Trades: In some areas, the best jobs are skilled labor, not farming. We support carpentry schools where boys and men learn to build furniture and structures, young men and women learn tailoring, and women start bakeries.

Help a family earn a living. Give an animal or tools.

Starting a Business

When you can’t earn enough to feed your family, saving money is impossible.

But as families feel more secure with a new trade, it becomes possible to set a little aside and plan for the future. It helps to get some training to start, and advice and encouragement along the way, especially when you’re saving and investing for the first time. That’s why we encourage people to form their own village savings and loans.

Those who choose to join the savings and loan elect a record keeper from among the members. Together, they set the rules, like how they will make loans and what the terms are for putting money in, taking money out, borrowing, and repaying.

These local groups are thriving. Before Pearson, a 31-year-old in Malawi, joined the savings and loan in his community, he had no money to buy his kids clothes or send them to school. Once he had built up a savings account, he took out a loan to invest in his fishing business and buy clothes for his children. He invested most of the profits he made from fishing back into the business, making enough to start a little shop with his wife, and later to plant some crops and pay others to cultivate them. Before he started these businesses, his three children rarely went to school and always went hungry. Now, they are healthy and even help with the family’s businesses, getting training of their own.

Give a family the tools they need to support themselves.

Help a Kid Be a Kid

Did you know that sponsoring a child also helps her and her family find a decent livelihood?