Sadick Kiyao is relaxing in his home outside of Kalenga, Tanzania. A small, sandy road connects the distance between his mud house and Kalenga town. Sadick listens to the sounds of his livestock, mostly cows and chickens, mulling about outside.
“I was so desperate!” he recalls. “My harvests did not allow me to provide my family with enough food for the year. It would only last until February, and so I had to work for other people as a casual laborer to get money in order to buy extra food to help my family survive.”
Sadick is a single father caring for 12 children. Ranging in age from 8 to 22 years old, his younger children attend school while the older ones help farm to provide for their siblings.
When forced to search for casual work to make ends meet, Sadick struggled. Sometimes he could find enough, but often he couldn’t. Then, in 2012, Sadick decided try something different. That year, he enrolled with One Acre Fund.
“I had been waiting for something like this for so many years. I have been practicing agriculture for quite a while, but still my harvests were discouraging,” Sadick says.
Through One Acre Fund, Sadick received hybrid seed, fertilizer, and planting trainings on credit. When harvest rolled around, Sadick harvested more maize off of the half-acre of land he planted with One Acre Fund’s techniques than he ever had on his entire three-acre farm.
“I felt like I was dreaming in the thick of the night, but then I realized that what was happening was really happening in my life. I couldn’t believe that my two acres would give me 60 bags of maize. But thanks to One Acre Fund, I was able to achieve my biggest harvest ever!” Sadick says.
Excited by his new success, Sadick increased the amount of seed and fertilizer he purchased on credit. In 2013, he planted a full two acres using One Acre Fund’s methods, and has continued growing it since.
Sadick tells us that as his farming and spirit improved, two of his older sons noticed. They were inspired by their father’s successes and decided to enroll with One Acre Fund as well. Saidi and Rashidi, 22 and 19 respectively, also now farm with One Acre Fund to help support the family.
“I realized that I was of a mature enough age to support my father in his efforts to raise us,” Rashidi says. “I joined the organization with the hope of making income through my agriculture. My primary goals were to help my brothers and sisters with school fees, and move from depending on my father to running my own life.”
Sadick and his sons tease each other and laugh as they reminisce about their planting experiences.
“I like farming with One Acre Fund because I am able to harvest more,” Rashidi explains. “I used to get only one bag of maize from my one acre of land before I joined, but now I am able to harvest more than six bags of maize from a half-acre. It’s no longer hard to make a living, like it was before.”
One Acre Fund’s simple trainings and flexible loan repayment schedule have allowed Sadick and his sons to support their loved ones in ways that used to be out of reach. Despite of Rashidi’s aspirations to help fund his siblings’ educations, Sadick has already been able to pay for school fees for his seven youngest children all by himself. “I devote much of the income I make from my harvests to support the education of my children. Education is the one treasure that I want to be able to give my children before I am gone,” Sadick says.
With his surplus, Sadick was also able to purchase a motorcycle and tow-cart to help him transport his harvests to and from his home and nearby markets. Both Saidi and Rashidi have been able to purchase poultry, and Rashidi has even used income from his harvest surplus to build his own home.
“We couldn’t afford meat before I joined One Acre Fund, but now we eat meat from my chickens anytime we want because I have many. Now I have a home and a reliable source of income from my chickens,” Rashidi says proudly.
Both Saidi and Rashidi feel their father has shown them a path to a better life.
"I am so happy having a father who really cares. He has made me into a man who can support himself and become independent in life. He used to take me to his fields when I was a child and this is how I came to love agriculture. With his guidance, I’m now able to support myself through agriculture too,” Rashidi says.