AIDS orphans are among the most forgotten children and the hungriest. 3,750 youth aged 12-24 will be trained in conservation farming, giving them skills needed to grow nutritious vegetables in arid areas. As the children learn how to plant, harvest and produce their food, they learn valuable life and gardening skills so that they can fend for themselves and can be marketable due to their competencies as gardeners. This project, in partnership with Seed Program International, will be life saving.
Food is scarce for orphans in Zimbabwe. In fact, it is scarce for most of the population due to a sustained drought and this year, intense flooding AFTER gardens died. Children are going to bed hungry, making it hard for them to concentrate on school work and their daily activities. They are sometimes found eating dirt or trying to eek out a meal out of leaves and from any twig they find. If the children are HIV+, they need even more food to keep infections at bay and their bodies strong.
We provide training in conservation farming to the eldest child in an orphan household, including composting, seed saving, planting, and other topics. Drought resistant seeds are given to the kids to plant gardens. Monitoring will be provided so that the kids are not left alone while gardens grow. Kale, spinach, maize, tomatoes, peppers, squashes, and other nutritious food will be harvested for them to eat. Seeds are saved for next year. Youth get stronger with good food and return to school.
The 3,750 children who are part of this project will have the ability to become healthier due to good nutrition. With the proper seeds, training and follow up, they have every chance of returning to school with full bellies and to pay for rent, medicine and other necessities through the sales of extra produce. In the long term, this is beneficial not only to the children, but to their communities, as they can barter with each other and the orphaned children are not dependent on benefactors.