Sunday, December 8, 2013

Chickens in Haiti

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by Rebecca Nickols

In the spirit of the holiday season, I thought I would share with our readers one of the organizations that my family supports. For more than 30 years, Lifeline Christian Mission has been working to meet the physical and spiritual needs of the people in Haiti, Honduras, El Salvador, Cuba and the Navajo Nation.

About 15 years ago my family decided to financially support a little girl growing up in the impoverished country of Haiti. Our monthly donations and occasional gifts provide this child with an education, nutritious food and health care. We receive photos of her opening the gifts that we send and also records on her growth, but this all seemed so distant and hard to comprehend her daily life until a few years ago when my oldest daughter took a youth mission trip to Haiti and actually got to meet the this young girl that we had supported for so many years! This past year my youngest daughter also had the opportunity to meet her when she traveled to Haiti through a mission trip!

Haiti is listed as the poorest country in the world... Of the 10 million residents, half of the population lives on less than $1 a day, while about 80% of the country lives on less than $2 a day. The country continues to recover from a devastating earthquake that occurred in 2010 taking the lives of an estimated 200,000 and destroying much of the country's infrastructure. Visit the following link to read Lifeline's founder, Getchen Devoe, describe her personal account of the earthquake: Remembering Haiti

When my daughters returned from Haiti their stories and photos were that of extreme poverty, but also of the beautiful people of Haiti - appreciative and grateful for what little they had.

What a great opportunity for an American teenager to experience. We have so much yet take so much for granted. I don't think it's truly possible to realize the extent of how blessed we are to live in America until you visit a third world country first hand to visually and emotionally experience life outside the comforts we not only have - but expect...

In addition to photos of the people, landscape and mission activities, I thought it was humorous that both my daughters took photos of chickens roaming free around the country and streets of the city!

 I'm not surprised that my girls took notice of the free-ranging flocks, they're a common sight around our property, but not something they expected to see on a mission trip!

This past summer my youngest daughter, Grace, shared with me another project that Lifeline had recently started as a way to assist Haitians to establish their own source of in-come and self-sufficiency. Continue reading as Lifeline explains the Chicken Project...

This thoroughly tested and proven project provides a profitable small business to Christian Haitian families. The chickens are raised to sell locally or to processing plants.  

Did you know?  90% of Haiti's chicken is imported!

Lifeline will select and qualify the participants, oversee formal training; construct the chicken coops; and supply healthy baby chicks, quality feed, medicines and follow-up supervision.  The training includes instructions on how to raise and market the chickens and teaching of sound business practices, simple book keeping and Biblical stewardship.

The program is designed to not only pay for the initial $3000 per unit start-up costs (provided for the Haitian owners), but will also require pay-back of these funds from profits generated.  The paid-back monies will then be available to fund additional project participants, thus allowing all donated funds to be perpetually invested in Christian owned and operated businesses. 

Of the $3000 unit price, $1500 is provided by KORE, F.I.S.H. Ministries and through grants from the Tim Tebow Foundation and others, and $1500 by Lifeline sponsors/investors (plus an additional $500 to cover administrative, follow-up and reporting costs).  These funds pay for everything, even catastrophic loss insurance.

I know that I take for granted how blessed and fortunate I am that I live in America. I can promote and support issues of sustainability, community gardens, buy local ...  I enjoy growing and raising my own food, but unlike many areas of the world, it's not essential to my survival. Lifeline Christian Mission is supporting an effort to educate and provide a means by which an impoverished country can take a step to support itself by raising their own food and at the same time provide an income. Perhaps you've heard the proverb - Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. I fully support Lifeline's purpose of feeding the hungry and their project of supporting the country's effort to raise their own food.

Of course the Haitian Chicken Project is not the same set-up as my beautiful coop that houses my free-ranging Heritage Chickens. You won't see the unique chicken coops that are featured in our Community Chickens newsletters and the flocks aren't cared for in the manner many of us spoil our flock, but chickens are (in a small way) providing a hope of a better future to the Haitian people.

If you would like more information on Lifeline Christian Missions and how you can support the Chicken Project, please refer to these links:

Lifeline Christian Mission (website)
Lifeline Christian Mission (facebook)
The Chicken Project

Here's an additional way to support this cause...
My husband and I have a small business, Rebecca's Bird Gardens, in which we sell living-roof birdhouses, feeders, living wreaths, vertical gardens at our local farmers' market. We also have a line of unique birdhouses that utilize re-purposed items. This holiday season we introduced a new birdhouse, "The Chapel". All proceeds from the sale of this birdhouse will go to Lifeline Christian Mission. I've added a few of these special birdhouses to my new Etsy shop. Each Chapel is unique: vintage hardware, glass knobs and antique metal ceiling tiles. The birdhouse can be a decorative item in your home, but is designed to be a functional birdhouse as well: constructed of cedar, ventilation and drainage holes and a side door for nest removal and clean-out.

Here's the link to my shop:

Rebecca's Bird Gardens (Etsy Shop)

To view what else is happening at our Southwest Missouri property visit: the garden-roof coop

If you enjoy bird-watching (in addition to chicken-watching), I invite you to "like" my facebook page:

1 comment:

  1. For those who are philanthropically inclined, is also a great option.

    There's plenty of "loans" that one can give to support people with getting their poultry business going. And these "loans" are paid back to you so that you can make another loan to someone else. is a registered nonprofit, and highly recommended!


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