Grandpa pretended to need our help raising his corn and beats. He attached a seat for each of us on the fenders of his John Deere tractor. We’d spend all day out of Grandma’s way by helping Grandpa in the field, plowing, planting and irrigating. At the end of the summer, sis and I would return to California for school, and Grandpa would take care of the harvesting on his own.
For us, farming was fun.
But for Marie Gusile Nahimana, farming is a serious business. It’s a means of survival. She’s a 26-year-old mother of two young children, farming a small plot of land in Burundi.
Burundi is a place where a 12-year civil war killed 200,000 people and destroyed the country’s economy. Two out of every three people live in abject poverty as a result. The dream of independence is difficult when living in such conditions.
Food for the Hungry (FH) is working with people like Marie, teaching improved farming practices that increase crop yields. More produce means families eat, have money for necessities and can send children to school.
“FH has taught me so many techniques on how to cultivate vegetables at home, which greatly improves nutrition,” Marie said. “My harvest has doubled thanks to the FH training. I have enough to eat and enough to sell in the market.”
Marie learned her skills through a teaching model that FH pioneered that extends the reach of each staff member. One staff member teaches a group of 10 to 15 people, and those people teach others. Together, they help each other become independent, and they no longer need outside assistance.
This social networking teaching model is used in different types of groups to help parents learn skills from farming techniques to income generation to improving health. The results inspire individuals and communities to own their development – making it more sustainable. This model has been praised by our peers.
Speaking of FH groups in Mozambique, Dr. Henry Perry, Senior Associate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health, said, “This is one of the world’s best examples so far of what can be achieved at low cost to improve the health of children in high-mortality, low-resource settings.”
You can help people like Marie this holiday season through the FH Gift Catalog. One example is by providing seedlings for cash crops. For a small gift of just $23, you can make a lasting impact in a family’s life as they become empowered to end poverty in their lives.