Earthworms might not be high on your list of ways to overcome poverty; but for Edwin’s family in Bolivia, the humble worm has proved quite the surprise hero!
Having both grown up in poverty, lacking opportunities, Edwin and his wife Esther struggled to provide for themselves and their children. Desperate to earn a living, Edwin lived away in Argentina for ten years, working as a bricklayer. But he missed his wife and two daughters so much, he decided to return home and try again to make a living locally.
‘When I returned to Bolivia, I dedicated myself to farming for five years,’ says Edwin. ‘But we didn’t have a good harvest because of the hailstorms and the frost.’ Edwin was again desperate, and about to move to Argentina permanently with his whole family, when Tearfund’s local church partner stepped in with a new and much-needed opportunity.
The church provided Edwin and Esther with training in livelihoods and business skills, opening up a whole world of new ideas, including worms...
They learnt how worms can help break down organic waste quickly, resulting in a natural fertilizer which can be sold. They threw all their efforts into this, and it paid off. By the end of the first year, they were producing 8kg of fertilizer per month. And by the end of the second year, 15kg a month.
The money they make from selling the fertilizer enables them to buy food and other essentials. It also means they can buy more supplies to help with their other farming activities, further strengthening their ability to make a good living.
‘We really enjoy it because, after all the effort we put into it, we receive enough money for our family expenses,’ says Edwin.
The family are now able to stay in their home country of Bolivia – there is no need to move away. ‘We have decided not to migrate to Argentina to look for new opportunities, because we already have found a great one,’ says Esther, happily.
‘As a family we are grateful to God because he saved us and because he allowed us to have this opportunity and [keep] the family united.’
- Pray for Edwin, Esther and their daughters, that their farming will go from strength to strength.
- Edwin is one of too many people in Bolivia forced to leave home to find work in other countries. Please pray for Tearfund’s partners working to improve livelihoods there, to enable families to stay together and live fulfilled lives free from poverty.
- Praise God for the amazing, surprising and life-sustaining power of his creation.