Woman pouring milk into containers

Posted on 11 Apr 18 in Kenya

Zainab Ahmed, is a 50 year old mother and wife; she lives in Dikabure Village about 10 kilometres from Garissa. Camels and in particular, Camel Milk, have transformed her and her family’s lives. Zainab’s camel milk business has allowed her to raise and educate her 9 children – 6 are currently in school, 2 are Camel Herders; while the other two are also working, having completed school.

A catastrophic drought about 20 years ago drove Zainab into the camel milk business, following the death of the family’s livestock; leaving her with no source of income from which to feed her family. After some soul searching, she decided to start her own business, initially getting some 3 litres from a camel owner (who she paid later) and taking it to Bura Iftin Market. She did this several times and gradually established herself and her business, taking the camel milk to the local market. It took her just three days to increase the volume she was trading by 3 times as much to 9 litres.

Zainab soon realised that despite the little money she was making, the business was growing and at least her children were now able to eat some of the time. The business went on for around 3 years, before the herders migrated due to drought, meaning that she was unable to get enough milk to meet demand. It was at this point, as the children got older, she decided to relocate to Garissa town to join the few women in the dairy business. She has been to every corner of Garissa town selling milk, initially dealing with cow, goat and camel milk. By the time she had moved from Bura Iftin, her milk volumes had reached a high of 40 litres at a price of KES 40 per litre buying and selling at KES 60.

Zainab currently specialises in camel milk and the average milk she handles per day is 100 litres. She has been able to educate her children with some in secondary school and 1 in a university, has 2 rented rooms for the family at Bura Iftin, invested in 50 goats and 6 camels. She has been able to put up a toilet and a bathroom and some running water.  Zainab owes all her successes to camel milk and believes the industry is yet to grow to its potential.

Zainab’s hard work has ensured that she is able to support one of her children through University.

Zainab is a prime example of someone who’s live has been transformed thanks to our work within the camel milk industry – we’re extremely proud of our work in the sector and the impact it’s had on those involved in the sector, particularly women, who make up an incredible 83% of camel milk traders.

The skills we pass on and teach in camel milk are essential and they change and save lives.

One class of camel milk, which provides a child with 50% of their daily recommended nutritional requirement, costs just 0.53p. A class of 40 children costs less than £25.