Nebbi ex-councillor uses farming to support orphans

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Acayerach in her garden in Nebbi. She says farming has helped her live a meaningful life. PHOTO BY PATRICK OKABA 


Posted  Wednesday, January 1  2014 at  02:00

Indeed the often quoted saying that disability is not inability is working well for a determined Ms Paska Acayerach, 43, the former councillor for persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Nebbi District.
Acayerach lost her leg in 1981 when she got injured on Nyaravur-Angal road around Paching Bridge in Nyaravur Sub-county during the war as she was heading to school at Angal Girls’ Primary School.
After 10 years of holding political office, she decided to venture into farming, in which she had had little experience.

Improve livelihood
But after observing how other people, considered able-bodied, were yielding a lot and earning big from agriculture, Acayerach decided to give it a try and not think of it as a business or activity, which excludes her because of being a PWD.

She says it is one of the activities that would improve her livelihood, enable her to carry out her family responsibilities and also use as “a retirement package”.
A kind gesture from a parish priest at Nebbi cathedral in form of an offer of land, motivated her to push on with her plans.
She started growing soya beans, rice, maize and beans on this piece of land.

In the past season, Acayerach harvested more than five sacks of soya beans, and five sacks of maize. And she has now planted two acres with cassava. In a good harvest season, she makes a profit of Shs 600,000.
On the side of family responsibilities, she is providing for 17 orphans.

Limited resources
Proceeds from the sale of the agricultural produce is used to feed them and to provide for their needs. In addition, Acayerach is given assistance in terms of foodstuffs from friends and religious leaders

“Depending on only one source of agricultural produce does not help much if the family responsibility is a lot. This is what made me to become innovative and start keeping local breeds of chicken for business. This has ready market thus earning me money, which I used to pay school fees for my late brother’s children,” she said.

Later, she managed to secure her own plot of land on which she has constructed simple buildings, mostly grass thatched, in which the dependents are accommodated.

Having their own accommodation has also helped to cut down on expenditure.
But there is challenge of getting to payschool fees on time since she has many children to look after and the resources are limited. Unpredictable weather condition sometimes makes her to earn less than what she put in.
That said, she is able to provide for her family with what she is currently earning, a testimony that hard work indeed pays.