#Join the Conversation

by John Allen

Nonhlanhla Skhakhane lives with her mother and 3 children in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal. Nonhlanhla and her family had been living below the poverty line for many years, as she is the only breadwinner in the family and since there are only limited available employment opportunities in the area, her family has had to survive on the restricted grants received from the government.

Nonhlanhla joined Heifer's Zusiphe project in 2012 and since then has received two goats, vegetable seedlings and fruit trees which has seen her and her family begin to flourish. However, it wasn't only the physical gifts she received from Heifer which enabled them to prosper, but it is also the values enshrined in Heifer's 12 Cornerstones which have truly assisted her family.

Heifer International South Africa (Heifer) is a community development organisation that works with poor, rural families to end poverty and hunger in South Africa and care for the Earth. Through training, hands-on support and gifts of livestock, seeds and trees, Heifer helps poor families begin farming successfully, both to grow their own food and to earn an income.
Since working with Heifer, Nonhlanhla is able to tend to her thriving vegetable garden and her two goats which have recently given birth to two kids, which she will be Passing-on to another family in need within the community.

Beyond the vegetables and livestock, Heifer's 12 Cornerstones are the glue that ensures Nonhlanhla's family's success is sustainable. The cornerstones are the values by which Heifer staff and project members are trained to live by and which enable strong families and communities. These cornerstones range from Accountability to Passing on the Gift and Improving the Environment. Nonhlanhla says that these cornerstones have changed her life. Sharing and Caring has taught her to care for her entire community and to help those around her in need, whilst Gender and Family focus has strengthened the relationship with her mother, meaning they can both work even harder on their goats and garden. The Full Participation Cornerstone has taught Nonhlanhla and her mother to include the children in caring for the vegetable garden and goats. This has increased the children's education and knowledge about agriculture and earning an income.

Therefore, along with the gifts of livestock and vegetable seedlings, Heifer's 12 Cornerstones have enriched the Skhakhane family to draw closer to one another and to their community, ensuring a sustainable and successful future for all.