Ethiopia: Growing Hope in Her Own Backyard

July 17, 2019

Even a small garden can make a huge difference: growing vegetables at home with skills Meseret learned at school gives her family steady income and a way to cover her school expenses.

“Who knows what I will become! I am now strong and can dream big,” declared Meseret, age 15.

In Bishoftu City, Ethiopia, where she lives with her parents, Meseret’s family has struggled to maintain a reliable income.

Working with two primary schools in underserved areas, IOCC funded a local partner, the Jerusalem Children and Community Development Organization, in teaching children how to grow vegetables in kitchen gardens. Meseret was one of the students from 140 households who went through the workshops, which included hands-on training in garden plots at the schools. She and her peers in the project also received supplies to start kitchen gardens at home.

“I never had any skill or knowledge in vegetable gardening before,” Meseret said. “Thanks to this project,” she added with a smile, “I’m now an expert…. I even helped train my mom to help cultivate our small backyard garden. Currently, we’re producing and harvesting vegetables.”

Meseret’s family now eats several pounds of vegetables daily—where they weren’t eating any before. They sell the surplus to help cover Meseret’s school-related expenses.

“Being able to have all my school supplies and books allows me not to miss any of my lessons, and I now attend school regularly,” Meseret said. “Who knows what I will be! Now I feel strong.”