One Hen, written by Katie Smith Milway, tells the story of what happens
when a boy in Ghana borrows a few coins to buy a single hen. Kids Can Press
A new children's book tells the story of what happens when a young boy living in Ghana in West Africa borrows a few coins from his village's collective fund.
The boy, Kojo, has an idea: to buy one hen. He walks two hours to a chicken farm in a neighboring village, and he finds the hen he wants — plump and brown, with a bright red comb.
He buys that hen — with the hopes of selling some of the eggs she lays in order to buy more hens.
And he does buy more hens — and more and more of them.
One Hen, written by Katie Smith Milway, chronicles what evolves from that small loan and is based on the story of Kwabena Darko.
Like Kojo, Darko is from a small village in Ghana and his father died when he was young.
Darko tells Melissa Block that chickens came into his life after he read a book on chicken farming and won a scholarship to study poultry science at college in Israel.
Later, Darko worked for his stepfather on his farm; its small flock of chickens grew to 100,000 egg-laying hens. But soon, Darko decided he wanted to start his own poultry farm.
As with Kojo in the book, author Milway says the turning point for Darko came when a banker finally takes a chance and gives him a loan.
"It's a real fulcrum point in the life of any microentrepreneur, when they can go from a small loan that's given by a nongovernmental organization … to real commercial credit. And that's one thing I loved about his story, is that he made that leap," she says.
As Kojo's farm grows, his wealth spreads throughout the community as more people gain employment, go to school and come back to ask Kojo for their own loans.
That part of the story also mirrors Darko's experience: 650 people now work at his farm and he has granted small loans to entrepreneurs such as bakers, dressmakers and traders in his own community. His repayment rate? 98 percent.
Darko says he hopes his story will inspire other children.
"If kids read a story like that, they can say, 'Oh, it's possible.' It brings hope to the hopeless, and it also helps them to imagine that 'Oh, it's possible in the future that I can also begin to grow and become somebody so that I can also affect others, '" he says.
Inspired by the life story of Opportunity International’s Dr. Kwabena Darko, chairman of the Ghana board and member of the Opportunity International Board, One Hen tells the story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana who turns a small loan into a thriving farm and a livelihood for many.
After his father died, Kojo had to quit school to help his mother collect firewood to sell at the market. When his mother receives a loan from some village families, she gives a little money to her son.
With this tiny loan, Kojo buys a hen. A year later, Kojo has built up a flock of 25 hens. With his earnings Kojo is able to return to school. Soon Kojo's farm grows to become the largest in the region.
One Hen strives to teach kids commerce with compassion, and the lesson that one small act can make a huge difference. Through this book and the One Hen game Web site, kids can learn about entrepreneurship and finance, and can participate directly in microlending with real “Kojos” around the world.
Children Can Make a Difference on www.OneHen.org!
Now, through the newly launched www.OneHen.org website, children have the opportunity to help change the world through microfinance. Launched with school children at City Year headquarters in Boston, the site is designed to educate children and families about the benefits of microfinance.
Through OneHen.org children interact one-on-one in a virtual village with microfinance. The site features interactive games where children can earn beads and then “loan” them to small businesses in the virtual marketplace, allowing them to see firsthand the power one small action can make in the lives of many. For each bead loaned, the site makes a donation to actual poor entrepreneurs. We invite you and your children to visit the One Hen website – a colorful and interactive resource for everyone!