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One of the hardest working people you'll ever meet

March 17, 2018

Emma provides the world with a valuable crop - coffee.

As a farmer in Tanzania, she produces between 300,000 and 400,000 vegetables each week. Emma works extremely hard, digging trenches and harvesting her crops by hand. Chief among her crops is one that millions of people around the world find extremely valuable– coffee.

Coffee is valuable to Emma, though perhaps for different reasons. While many people rely on coffee to fuel their work, coffee is her work. The income from her coffee plants are what she relies on to provide for her family.

A batch of raw coffee beans picked from Emma's farm in Tanzania.

A batch of raw coffee beans picked from Emma's farm in Tanzania.

A few years ago, things suddenly got much harder for Emma.

As a farmer on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, she suffered the effects of the natural environment’s turn for the worse. As the mountain’s snowcap grew smaller and provided less water to the land below, the soil grew less fertile. She had to work even harder for fewer results.

The urgency of Emma’s work became even more pronounced as tragedy struck her family. Her husband passed away, leaving Emma as a widow left to provide for her three children.

At the time she was initially introduced to Plant With Purpose’s program she was skeptical. As an extremely industrious worker, it was important to be careful what she committed her efforts to. “In the beginning, I did not take it very positively and saw it as a lot of work,” admits Emma. “I knew other groups where people just saved. I thought I could just save my money.... Later, when I joined other communities, I saw other groups doing those things and then benefitting, so I prayed first, I prayed about it. Then I decided to try. I have seen the benefits.”

Emma shares her experiences with her Farmer Field School.

Emma shares her experiences with her Farmer Field School.

Her hard work plus Plant With Purpose’s support changed her future.

Emma joined a savings group that allowed her to take out a loan for her children’s school fees. She began to attend a farmer field school. She learned sustainable farming techniques. These methods allowed her to grow more crops while at the same time restoring the environment. “I learned organic farming, how to make compost manure, and how to prepare double dug beds,” she recalls.

The loan provided new opportunities. The new techniques allowed her to repay that loan quickly, while nourishing her soil for lasting sustainability. All this was fueled by one of Emma’s strengths that she engaged from the very beginning: her willingness to work as hard as needed.

All this paid off to create a better future for Emma’s family and village. The soil around Mount Kilimanjaro has since improved. Reforestation efforts have helped to stabilize its climate and snowcap. Emma’s kids have a brighter outlook as well. She was able to put all three of them through school in Dar Es Salaam, providing even more opportunities for the next generation.

The people most affected by deforestation and unstable climate in places like Mount Kilimanjaro are the ones who live there and rely on the land for a living. Interventions like Farmer Field Schools and Savings Groups are key for farmers like Emma becoming empowered to restore the land and create better futures for their children. To empower mothers like her, consider becoming a Purpose Partner for just $22 a month!

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