Imagine being too hungry and too weak to learn. 7 year-old Alieu doesn’t have to imagine, because he knows what it’s like.
Alieu lives in a small village in Freetown, Sierra Leone. A country that in 2015, suffered the most devastating loss of life from the deadly Ebola virus in history. In it’s wake, the country was left in the grip of a fierce recession. Food prices were so high that parents struggled to put even one square meal on the table.
Children like Alieu and his brother would arrive at school so hungry and malnourished that they simply couldn’t study, or they missed school altogether to sell charcoal or collect garbage in the hope of making enough money to buy something to eat.
In response, their school in Freetown came up with an ingenious idea to transform a patch of barren land into a garden where they could grow food for the children, together with a kitchen and a dining room. They came to us for support and with the help of our generous donors here in the UK, we couldn’t wait to help them. On the 12th September 2016, 150 pupils at the We Are the Future school in Freetown were served their first school lunch – and every plate was licked clean!
The pupils now enjoy a healthy meal, five days a week. For some, it may still be the only meal they receive – but the difference it is making to their lives is amazing! With the energy to study and play, grades have rocketed and absence from class is at an all time low. Head teacher John Parrish says “The secret is in the kitchen!”
Derick Smith is a student in Class 3 at the WAF School. He was often either absent or sleeping in class, too tired because his stomach was empty. But now, Derick’s reading and writing has improved and he is wide awake for lessons. The difference was so dramatic that his father even went to school to find out what had brought about such a miraculous change!
Every week, the children visit the garden and kitchen to learn how to grow and cook food – valuable lessons for their futures. Even the younger children can name many of the plants and the nutrients in them. Parents have begun to learn from the school gardeners too, so that in time the whole community might become more resilient – and all from one simple project.
But we know there is so much more we can do. There are countless more children at neighbouring schools who we know are dangerously malnourished and too weak and tired to learn. We can’t let them suffer when we have proven the solution is so achievable, which is why we want to plant more gardens and provide more square meals at other schools. Please will you help us?
£12 could help buy seeds in time for the next growing season
£33 could help buy a set of garden tools to build another kitchen garden
£66 could help buy the tricycle we need to transport our gardeners and tools from school to school.
The new school term starts in January, so there’s no time to delay. Thank you.
And if you’re able to help us with a monthly direct debit, we have 50 sets of seeds from a kind sponsor to give to our first 50 regular givers before 31st December, 2017 (terms and conditions apply).