Antoine Michael was a father, like many in Haiti, who struggled to care for his family in a difficult economy. Finding work as a welder in Léogâne was challenging, and his sporadic income was beginning to take a toll on the family.
He explained, “Sometimes [we] didn’t have any money to cook. Other times [there were] drawbacks from sending the children to school.”
When he heard about the chicken project, he knew he needed to be a part of it. “I said to the bishop, ‘You need to try very hard to hire me in the chicken project. I believe that this could help me a lot.’”
Antoine and his family anxiously awaited the day they would be able to join the program. Each day his wife asked him whether they had been accepted. “When I told her yes, she was happy. … She kissed me,” said Michael.
This project, run by LDS Charities, helps people become more self-reliant by giving them the tools they need to start their own business and make it grow. Each participant is given chickens, training, and needed supplies.
But Antoine wasn’t content with just making a better life for his own family. He wanted to help others as well. After building his own chicken coop, Michael used his newly developed skills to build 25 coops for friends and neighbors. He didn’t accept any money for his services.
He continues to check up on them from time to time to see how their businesses are going and to offer advice. He said, “It feels good to dedicate myself to help others to succeed with their chicken coops.”
His flock has also been a great tool for teaching his children self-reliance. He gives each of them a chicken that they are responsible for looking after, and when he sells it, he gives them the money he received for the chicken. The children then use that money to pay their school fees.
Last December, when Michael began the program, he was given 50 chickens and training in carpentry. Now, a year later, his flock has more than tripled in size.
Antoine is glad for the changes that the chicken project has made in his life. He said, “I feel like I’m living at the top now, because it was my dream to have a business, but I didn’t know how to achieve it.”