Stories of Change
Alexander with his wife Rusiko and their three children outside the chicken incubator.
From desperation to hope for a family in rural Georgia
“I was in a desperate situation, not knowing how in the future to feed my children or what to do. The tension was growing in the family,” says Alexander Kobakhidze, 35. There are eight people living in Alexander’s small house in Georgia, including his wife, three children, parents and brother.
Before the pandemic, the family was barely scraping by. They have a small plot of land that they used to grow produce to eat and sell. But it was never enough. Alexander would go to Turkey to work in a poultry farm, sending money home to make sure his children had enough to eat. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, that’s no longer an option. His brother also lost his job, making things even worse. The family was relying on state social assistance and occasional money Alexander could make doing odd jobs in a nearby town. But they weren’t making ends meet.
“I remember well the day at the community center when I was told about the program that included distributing chickens to vulnerable households and supporting poultry raising,” Alexander says. This is a CWS program supported by Latter-day Saint Charities. “Because of my background and experience of working at the poultry farm in Turkey, my family was offered a demo site for hatching and breeding the chickens. The program supplied us with an incubator and hatching area and helped organize the poultry shed to breed 300 chickens,” he says. “The program brought a new hope to our family and self-confidence, and it appeared to be a crucial point in changing our family’s life for the better.”
Alexander joined workshops on hatching and breeding poultry, and he has regular consultations with a veterinary expert. They’ve already started earning money from selling chickens, and their optimism is growing. “A few weeks ago I couldn’t believe that my family, my children, would become the owners of such a nice small-scale poultry breeding area with an incubator,” he says. “Every morning after we wake up, my three children and I go to the poultry area and count the hatched chicken (the children are learning to count), and we feed them. It is a great joy to be an owner of such a facility.”
This program is providing a pathway out of hunger and poverty for families like Alexander’s in Georgia. It also supports sustainable, local food production. Or, in Alexander’s words, “Now I believe that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to this program, we can survive and feed the children.”