The Esther School employs 20 men from the community. These jobs give an opportunity to provide for their family, learn a tradable skill, and use what they've learned to benefit those around them. This is the story of one Esther School employee, Esaya Zulu. Esaya manages the school garden and chicken run. Esaya is an experienced farmer and uses his knowledge to manage and plan out the school garden. In addition, working at The Esther School has taught Esaya new skills, in particular, in running a chicken coop. Esaya has used these skills to open his own chicken run that benefits his family, community, and The Esther School. Here’s his story:

Esaya began working at The Esther School in 2012. His daughter and sister-in-law have attended the school since its opening. Through this, Esaya was introduced to a job opportunity and began working at the school. Through the years, he worked on various projects, but found his niche in gardening and managing the chickens. As he continued working in this position, the desire of running his own chicken coop began growing inside of him.

“After thinking this, I went to the administrator [David Draayer] and told him I wanted to begin a chicken layer business,” recalled Esaya. “He said, ‘ok, come sit and we will talk about it.’ Then, he started explaining to me how a layer business would work.”

A mentoring relationship began. Esaya and David continued to meet and discuss what it would take for him to have his own layers.

“I taught him how to write a business plan that covered all the things he would need to consider,” said David. “We also talked about the importance of having a specific goal in mind. His goal is to save enough to grow his business larger into something that can adequately provide for his family AND benefit TES.”

This past June, Esaya built his chicken run and began his business. His wife and family have joined him in this venture. Two times a day, they walk twenty minutes to gather water for the chickens. Esaya has empowered his wife by inviting her to run operations while he is at work. Not only is Esaya’s chicken run benefitting his family, it is providing a service for his community. Before Esaya’s chicken run, people of the village had to walk very far to find eggs to buy. Now, members of the community can find eggs at a shorter distance and in so doing, provides a way to implement protein into their daily nutrition.

“I am thankful for The Esther School,” Esaya humbly beamed. “It has helped me. It gave me an idea, and taught me how to implement. And it educates my children. The Esther School has helped me.”