Little Franklin will turn two in February 2012. He lives with his mother and his two sisters in San Carlos de Chuquira, a small village in the region of Chimborazo, Ecuador, high up in the Andes. His mother grows vegetables, barley and medicinal plants over an area of just under four hectares at an altitude of 3500 metres. Franklin had still not learned to talk properly when SWISSAID met him in November 2011. His elder sister Maria Ines, 13, explained, "We never want for love and security", pointing out that the family's circumstances are difficult because her mother has to raise the three children on her own.
Franklin's mother, Maria Martina Yasaca, 39, works hard. She gets up early in the morning to prepare the barley or wheat flat bread that the children eat. Then she has to work in the field – she may have to do the ploughing, for example. It is hard work. But for all that she does not earn enough to protect herself and her children against the cold and to produce enough to eat.
The family keeps a cow and guinea pigs, and their dung is used to make fertiliser. Since attending some workshops on organic farming, mum Maria Martina has been producing the fertiliser herself, has switched to mixed cultures and is also allowing fields to lie fallow. Thanks to the new irrigation system, which delivers the precious water to her fields, her income will double. Franklin's older sister, 17-year old Ana Maria, will sell the surplus crops at the regional market.