Laetitia lives with her mother in the remote village of Bukura in Kenya and has never known her father. Despite her own challenges and responsibilities as the eldest of three sisters, Laetitia still made time to tutor fellow students when she was not studying. For as long as she can remember, she has sought to help women who are the primary breadwinners for their families, knowing that slightly growing means could allow their daughters to stay in school. Out of Laetitia’s extraordinary strength and generosity, the Africa Rabbit Centre sprung to life.
Laetitia found that rabbit-farming was a great enterprise to undertake. From research, Laetitia learned that rabbits were easy to breed and that every part of the rabbit had value. The fur, the meat, the waste as manure, and even the urine could be used as an organic pesticide in farming. She convinced a local school to invest 40,000 Kenyan shillings to help purchase the first set of rabbits. Soon, Laetitia and others formed a local women’s association to manage the blossoming rabbits project that had rapidly grown to dozens of rabbits.
In 2014, ARC worked with 15 women who are located in Butere, roughly 290km from Nairobi. Spending months in our full time apprenticeship programme, women emerge from ARC proficient enough in rabbit farming (which involves feeding, breeding and selling of live rabbits) to earn roughly $30 per month and support themselves and their families. While the women learn on-the-job skills, ARC supports itself by selling rabbits (250 annually) to other rabbit suppliers and restaurants in Kenya.
Through ARC, Laetitia also founded Sofia Township Primary School. The school is located in Sofia slum in Butere, Western Kenya and it is home to 350 Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC), most of whom are affected by extreme poverty, high drop-out rates, dysfunctional families and frequent child labour. The children are aged between 5 and 14. Their goal is to provide quality education to all of learners regardless of their backgrounds. At Sofia Township Primary School, 10 teachers are employed while five members of the community serve as subordinate staff.
Laetitia has received over $20,000 in additional investment. She was also featured on BBC London, Kenyan TV, Capital FM, and M-Net’s Carte Blanche.
By 2033, Laetitia hopes ARC is the largest rabbit producer in Kenya and aims by then, to use the profits generated to create a Kenya with 20,000 economically empowered rural women who are bold, confident and self-sustainable.