One Hen by Katie Smith Milway

Sometimes the biggest changes in our world begin in the smallest ways. Katie Smith Milway’s story relates how the purchase of one small hen changed an African community.

In a small village in Ghana, young Kojo and his widowed mother were just able to survive by gathering and selling firewood. One day, given a small loan, Kojo bought a hen to provide them with eggs. He sold the extra eggs at the market, repaid his loan, and eventually saved enough to buy another hen, then another, and another, and so on. After a while, Kojo earned enough money to pay his school fees as well. He attended school and obtained a bank loan, using it to establish a poultry farm near his village. As the farm grew, it employed others, enabling them – like Kojo and his mother – to leave poverty behind. With the taxes paid by Kojo and his employees, the whole community benefited. As the author states, “Change can happen, one person at a time.”

Was there a real Kojo? Yes: some years ago, Kwabena Darko, a boy living in the Ashanti region of Ghana, helped his mother to support his family. Winning a scholarship to attend an agricultural college in Israel, he studied poultry science, returned to Ghana and with some difficulty, obtained a loan to start a poultry farm. The farm eventually employed many others, and flourished, as did his community. Kwabena then established the Sinapi Aba Trust to provide microloans to others. The Trust grew. In a single year, 2006, it provided loans to 50,000 Ghanaians to establish small businesses such as raising small livestock, sewing, selling firewood, etc. The lives of thousands of people from many communities were transformed. Today, Sinapi Aba is part of the global nonprofit microfinance organization, Opportunity International.

The author of One Hen, Katie Smith Milway, was formerly a co-ordinator of community development programs in Africa and Latin America for the global organization, Food for the Hungry International.
One Hen was illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes, of Ontario, one of Canada ’s foremost children’s picture book author-illustrators.

Note: The copy of One Hen reviewed above was given to Stratford Public Library CEO Sam Coghlan as a registrant at Stratford’s Canada 3.0 Forum, June 8 and 9.

** Recommended for ages 5 to 10 years.
Find this book in the library catalogue.


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