Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Songhai Women's Capital Fund #1

       Reine Kouton

Reine knew from a young age that she wanted to pursue a career in agriculture. At the age of 16 she entered the training program at Songhai where she learned how to raise chickens and make soap commercially.

In Benin, where chickens normally roam free and eat garbage or whatever scraps they can find, actually raising chickens is a revolutionary concept, and Reine plans on expanding her chicken business from simply selling chickens to eat to producing eggs, a much needed protein throughout Benin. 

   Reine is an ambitious woman planning to enter into the world of vegetable production. She wants to grow peppers, lettuce, and leafy vegetables commonly used in sauces. All are very rare in the Dowa area so Reine will be creating a new niche in the market to meet the increasing demand for vegetables. The best part is that Reine envisions an integrated system, using the waste from her chickens to improve the soil and increase yields.

In 10 years I hope Benin will have a women president. Women are the ones working up steadily from their old roles in the home and we own lots of businesses in Benin. This is just the beginning for us. If women can keep improving their lives, Benin will develop too."

We hope you'll take some time to watch this video of Reine from our visit to the Songhai Centre. It's in French, it's lengthy, and there's a translator off screen. But when we edit it, it loses too much of her strength of spirit. Even if you only spend a few minutes listening to Reine tell her story, we know you'll get a sense of her spirit and personality. 

Join us in supporting Songhai and women like Reine by visiting our Donate page.

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