Thanks to Fredrik Eklund and WTMD we started 2016 with a feeding program for the youngest children at our Chinhoyi school and were able to assist many grand-parent headed families in the community – the very elderly struggling to look after young children whose parents have passed away from HIV/AIDS. We all remember Esther and Obert’s heart-breaking stories – there are just too many children just like them within this remote, rural community.
Our priority has always been to keep these children in school! Hearing stories of children fainting, either on their way to school or during lessons, and attendance levels dropping are all totally unacceptable, especially after your loyal support and the hard work of our volunteers!
To complement the school feeding program, we piloted a family Conservation Agriculture program, whereby we provided training and specific inputs for families within the school community to start their own Pfumvudza (“new beginnings”) plot at home.
This plot is a mere 16x39m area making it easy to plant, mulch and manage, using only natural techniques such as composting, and a hoe! At the end of the season, during one of the country’s worst droughts, those who had correctly followed the principles not only achieved their goal to feed a family of 6 for the whole year, they exceeded our expectations by a long way.
With the feeding program and the Conservation Agriculture program we are on the way to children receiving 3 meals per day, improving their well-being and enabling them to attend school. We will be continuing and expanding the family Conservation Agriculture program through this 2016/2017 season where we will encourage those who did so well to train and pass their knowledge onto their neighbours – many have already started!
Whilst this CA pilot program continues to grow we are extremely fortunate to have partnered with Ruffs Kitchens who committed to increasing the feeding program through 2016 and into 2017. Ruffs Kitchens will be feeding an astonishing 4,100 children at 6 primary and secondary schools in the community we work in, as well as 4 pre-schools.
Our goal for 2017 is to not only feed the tummies of these children to keep them in school, but to feed their minds with a quality education. We will be partnering with Redearth Education to deliver training to their teachers using strategies to make lessons more engaging, exciting and effective. The children will become more motivated and inspired improving the quality of their education and their life chances.