Poverty is a serious threat to many families
Millions of families around the world live in poverty, but their hopes are pretty similar to the hopes of most other families. Parents want to be able to put their kids through school to get a strong education. Children hope to grow up healthy and to have good nutrition. Mothers and fathers hope to provide their household with safety and security in order to live a meaningful life.
The difference for families in poverty is that the path to having these things is much more difficult. Oftentimes it can feel out of reach. Environmental degradation puts the process of growing enough food out of reach. This quickly depletes a family of their resources. Parents can no longer pay for school fees. There is no way to save enough money in case of an emergency.
The threat of poverty hit the Tanzanian village of Siha pretty hard. Almost everyone there worked as a farmer. As the soil of Mount Kilimanjaro began to lose its fertility due to environmental instability, food security drastically decreased. When this happened it made Aleaulwa, a farmer and father of four, extremely anxious. How would they feed their kids? How could they go to school?
Aleaulwa had to take action... quickly.
After asking around, he discovered Plant With Purpose’s Tanzanian team and joined a farmer field school. He began to learn methods of farming that could cope with the changing environment. Beyond that, these methods also had the ability to reverse the environmental degradation and to restore the Kilimanjaro area to health.
He began to learn restorative techniques. He learned how to make raised garden beds which could efficiently grow more plants in the same amount of time. He started with a small experiment, and when he saw how much more he could harvest from these beds, he planted even more.
He began to get training in Creation Care, connecting the process of environmental restoration to spiritual revitalization. Aleaulwa quickly saw that he wasn’t just learning how to be a better farmer, but that he was becoming a better caretaker of God’s creation and of his family. He started to focus especially on planting trees that protected the water source.
His family also began to benefit from organic farming. He learned how to cut his use of chemical fertilizers by using natural compost instead. That helped cut the cost of farming goods and led to more nutritious crops. His family was no longer at risk of getting sick from chemicals in their produce. “At every meal we have greens,” he exclaimed. “This has improved the quality of our food, and the harvest and sales help me pay for school fees. I can get income just from the garden!”
It all came together to give his family a brighter future.
“The surrounding community has also learned from the skills taught by my group and about half of them are using these techniques, including composting, tree planting and organic pest control. The group is also involved in teaching the local school, and also works with a local orphanage.”
Aleaulwa beams with pride when he recalls what happened next.
He and his wife joined a savings group. A local church offered a group space where they could meet and learn how to invest money and take out loans. Aleaulwa and his wife joined one of these groups.
They were able to turn their increased income into even more growth as a result. They expanded the space on which they could plant. They started focusing on selling more of their produce, which turned out to be a big success. Because their produce was organic, they were able to attract many customers.
After a little while, the process of paying for school no longer seemed difficult.
Aleaulwa proudly held up a photograph of his daughter, a recent graduate. “My oldest has also finished his university studies, and he’s now a tutor at the secondary school. My other son is now in technology.”
Aleaulwa has one son left in school and after seeing all his parents were able to accomplish, he now dreams of becoming an agronomist.
The future looks much brighter for this Tanzanian family, and it can be that way for many others. To learn more about how you can help, click here!