Laurence Jose Jorge
Youth Poultry Farmer
“The vaccinations have kept our chickens alive and I hope to be chosen as a community vaccinator this year.”
At just 14, Mozambique teenager, Laurence Jose Jorge became the head of his house and the guardian of his five younger siblings when their parents died from AIDS. Three years on, the young family is considered one of the lucky few – they still have a roof over their heads and make it to school most days.
Most commonly the child head of households find it difficult to manage and a high number of young children die simply because they are not eating well. Laurence’s story is one of hope and perseverance. Fortunately he was old enough and had the knowledge to find a way to support his siblings, and himself.
Laurence’s young family depends on effectively running his parent’s farm, but also managing poultry. KYEEMA’s vaccination programs are reaping real results as seen in the case of Laurence and his siblings. Laurence says the vaccinations have saved most of his flock which he depends on to pay for school supplies.
Laurence explains that, although his parents taught him how to take care of the farm before they passed away from AIDS, his chickens are another essential element of the farm.
“My parents taught me that if you can use a hoe, you will have a wonderful life,” he says.
“I keep following their advice. If it is time to plant sweet potato, I plant sweet potato. If it is time to plant rice, I plant rice.”
In addition to wielding the hoe, Laurence relies on his chicken supply to help raise money for his siblings’ school needs and provide them with much-needed nutrition. Also, getting his family to school every day is a commitment he is dedicated to.
“Chickens give us an income to pay for school and also meat and eggs for my family to eat,” he says. “It is very important to me that my siblings attend school for our survival.”
Laurence has a proud tilt to his head as he admits that, while he is currently happy being a farmer, he has loftier ambitions.
He wants to be a journalist one day.