Thanks to a Red Cross gardening project, Djenaba, 24, is confident she’ll be able to send her two-year-old daughter Malika to school this autumn.
Djenaba and Malika are one of the 25 families in Sebba village, Burkina Faso, who cultivate land in the local Red Cross garden. The garden is divided into roughly 6 metre by 1.5 metre plots. Each family decides how many plots they are able to maintain, and then pays a small amount per plot in order not to waste the land.
As well as providing gardening plots, the Red Cross supports local communities by distributing seeds and tools, teaching gardening techniques and making improvements to local infrastructure, such as access to water.
It takes people a great deal of time to water their plants. The well is deep, the water hard to fetch, and members of the gardening group have to take turns – day and night – at the well. But it is, they say, worth the effort.
Djenaba explains: “With the plots I have, I am able to sell some vegetables in the market. This enables me to finance other activities.” With the money she makes selling her vegetables, Djenaba can buy and sell fish on the market.
Now, she makes enough money to feed Malika, and should be able to send her to school in a few months’ time. With a full stomach, Malika will be well-placed to make the most of her education.
Unfortunately, Djeneba and Malika do not represent the majority. In west Africa, 17 million people do not have enough to eat, and over 8.1 million people need immediate humanitarian assistance.
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