Jane’s story

October 2022
Jane is sitting outside of her home and sorting seeds from a pot.
Jane is a farmer with a disability and grows sorghum in Homa Bay County. All images © Ninth Wonder Productions/Sightsavers

“Since I got into this programme, I have seen that my burden has been eased.”

Jane is a sorghum farmer from Rangwe in Homa Bay, Kenya. She lives with her husband and their seven children. Her husband has a heart problem and is not able to support with work on the farm, leaving Jane with sole responsibility of supporting her family and getting her children through school.

Jane has a physical impairment in her leg caused by a fracture. If she has to walk long distances or stand on her feet for too long, it swells and becomes very painful. She describes the challenges she faces in accessing services and support as a woman with a disability:

“As somebody with a disability, if you approach any office, we don’t usually get help. People with disabilities have several challenges, ranging from even the way they can access services. Sometimes we as women, we have children, sometimes you realise that you are not able to help them because of your status.”

A woman farmer is photographed on her land holding farming tools and seeds.

Jane was initially supported to be part of East Africa Breweries Limited’s supply chain under pilot work funded by UK Aid, and is now being supported with funding from USAID under the Global Labor Program – Inclusive Futures.

“I have a land of two acres, one acre I use for planting maize and the other one acre is for sorghum. Another one [acre] I lease from outside. But the way they produce, sometimes I get up to eight sacks. When the people from EABL come, they weigh the quantity of the sorghum. They pick, then they pay us. One kilogram will go at 40 shillings.”

She uses the income she earns to pay her children’s school fees and anything extra that she grows, Jane and her family use:

“When it is too much, they will bring the machine, they do the threshing, then thereafter they pick theirs and leave for you what belongs to you. The rest we use as staple food within our family.”

Jane describes how being part of the programme has helped to change her own perceptions and has given her opportunities to achieve things she never thought she could:

“Initially I could not attend such kind of seminars in Homa Bay, but this thing has really opened me up to meeting different kinds of people. And it has really changed our lives and we are living a good life. Because since it came, I’ve had an opportunity of going through story buildings that I could not even have thought of climbing.”

Despite the benefits of supplying sorghum to EABL, Jane is worried by the rising costs of fertiliser and the pressure it adds on top of the challenges of supporting her family on her own:

“I’m alone and even helping family members becomes a problem because you are single and responsible for everything. That is the challenge I have.”

Listen to Jane tell her story: