Before they became part of our pilot experiment, this group of young men were living in the capital city of Abidjan acting in their own movies, and were well-known artists. Joly Bebe, the leader of the group loved the idea of going back to the village to show to other young people that they could make a living on the farm.
It is worth mentioning that more and more young people abandon the villages to migrate to the cities where they become jobless and get lost to drugs, and alcoholism.
In 2014, the group, previously know as Zipla, accepted to take on the challenge of returning to the village and work the land. With few of the group members, Zipla received a land near the village of Bouafla, and using machetes, they started to build their huts, and raise hogs, and chicken. They grew rice, and cassava. Due to harsh living condition, some members dropped and left the group, the wife of the leader left him with their son for better prospects abroad. But Joli Bebe believed in the idea and stayed on the farm.
Today, the group is well adapted to the hard living conditions, and is proud to have become an example to many of their peers who refuse to go back to work the farm.
The group started a delivery business, in part from the donations received from the Rotary Club of Paddington (UK) and Roll out the Barrel (UK). A 40ft container packed with donated goods arrived in the Marahoue from England, along with dozen of bicycles. These bikes jump started the idea of a delivery service.
Riding the bikes, these young people travel around the Marahoue bringing their goods to markets. Traveling long distances, they are now able to sell their farm products and homemade soap to camps, and villages, to people that would otherwise have to drive to town to buy such goods.
They would ride more than 40 to 50 miles a day to sell to the markets, and they love it. People are proud of them. They are now hailed as role models to others. They are becoming a success story in the Marahoue.