Patricia is the new owner of a chicken-rearing business in Frontino (Colombia) that allows her to support herself financially. Patricia has a disability that used to prevent her from working. But thanks to a project run by a local organization called Corfrodis, in partnership with Handicap International, for the first time in her life, she earns her own income. And has confidence in herself.
Patricia Usuga Valderiama is 36. She lives on the outskirts of Frontino, a town in the Colombian province of Antioquia. She shares her home with her mother, son, sister, niece and sister-in-law. Until recently, Patricia relied on her family to survive. In fact, her muscles are so weak, she can only move around with a walking frame or in a wheelchair. Because it was impossible to find work, she became financially dependent on her relatives.
That’s when she contacted Corfrodis (Corporación Frontineño para discapacidados), a local organisation that helps people with disabilities and improves their access to education, health care, leisure and culture. Corfrodis is one of ten organisations that Handicap International provides with assistance and financial support in Colombia.
Corfrodis manages a micro-project co-funded by Handicap International. Thanks to this project, people like Patricia receive ten chickens to rear and sell themselves. Once the chickens have been sold, the beneficiary pays back the investment and uses the profit to invest in new chickens. And Patricia definitely makes a profit: “I can sell each chicken for 3.50 euros. After allowing for the cost of feed and buying new chicks, I’m left with a profit of around 25 euros a month,” says Patricia. “I need around 35 euros a month to survive. The money from the chickens already covers most of my needs.”
As soon as Patricia paid back the cost of the chickens, another disabled person received ten chickens to start their own business. In this way, the project continues to benefit other people. Handicap International ensures the chickens are vaccinated and provides beneficiaries with equipment, such as a chicken coop. Corfrodis helps people manage their money and expand their small business.
This project supports Patricia financially and helps to keep her spirits high. You can hear the pride in her voice when she talks about her business: “I did nothing before, I just stayed at home. Now I go into the street to sell my chickens or to buy new chicks and I meet lots of people. I also make my own small contribution to my family’s finances.”