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Past transforms future for Bolivian farmers

Today, Dora Escalante has many reasons to be positive about her daughters' future - all thanks to a little help from Oxfam supporters and some ancient agricultural techniques.


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Dora's story

"I don't want my daughters to suffer like I have, I want them to be happy and have a good life. Everything I do here is for their future." 
Dora Escalante, farmer and mother, Trinidad, Bolivia.

Dora Escalante lives in Trinidad, one of the poorest and most flood-prone parts of Bolivia. She is a single mother caring for four young daughters. Dora struggles to support her family alone, working two jobs just to survive. But she dreams of one day being able to build her daughters a house and give them a future free from worry.

Now she's steadily working towards her dream thanks to an Oxfam project to resurrect the pre-Inca farming technique of camellones - a system of alternating canals and raised fields. 'Camellones' farming is more environmentally friendly and sustainable than the usual way local people farm. Crops are protected from both floods and droughts - safe on higher ground, with a ready, nearby supply of water. Farmers can also use the canals to breed fish for food or to sell.

We're supporting farmers in communities such as Dora's to build the camellones, as well as helping out with training, tools and seeds. This little boost paid for by Oxfam supporters has had far-reaching effects for hundreds of families in the region, including Dora's:

"I was not expecting such a huge amount of corn for my first harvest. I picked 400 large pieces and 300 small ones. And I was very satisfied after taking our corn to town for sale."

Dora plans to invest the money she's made from her corn to start growing tomatoes, which would be ready to harvest within just three months. Working on her camellone - often with her daughters for company - means that she gets a regular income, even when there are floods that bring most other activities in the area to a halt.

Dora is growing enough food to earn an income which she will use to lift her daughters' lives for good. All thanks to a little support and some 2,000-year-old-learning.

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