By FHF President Colleen Walton
As we roll slowly into the spring, I reflect on the incredible community of supporters of our work with Kenyan Farm families. The annual January trip found 13 volunteers and students in Kenya working as trainers in agriculture, book keeping and dairy herd management. Their efforts enhance the year-round work of our Kenyan staff in building skills and knowledge for rural Kenyan farmers in order that they may enhance their agricultural production, reduce their level of poverty and improve their overall quality of life. In addition to training, FHF prides ourselves in the ability to provide critical items that allow farmers to make the most of their new knowledge and for schools to become better places for children’s learning. Much of the fundraising for these critical items comes from our annual Christmas campaign.
We are grateful for the long-term support of people in PEI and beyond and I would like to share the impact that these contributions have on Kenyan farm families. With almost $50,000 raised in our Christmas campaign, Farmers Helping Farmers will positively impact the lives of roughly 1500 individuals in their farm households and a further 4500 children in schools in Kenya. Water tanks will be installed on the home of 20 families which will save the girls and women countless hours of carrying water from distant sources. This increases the chance that the girls will continue in school and enables the women farmers to spend more time and energy on productive farm work and caring for their family. As well, almost 100 households will have the materials to grow vegetables in small spaces with vegetable grow bags, good quality seeds and a pitchfork to make compost for good soil. Vegetables are just as important for healthy children in Kenya as in Canada, but in Kenya most rural household must grow their own vegetables or do without.
As part of our work with schools in Kenya, FHF provides the opportunity for PEI schools to twin with Kenyan schools. From the Christmas campaign, 15 Kenyan schools will receive funds for books. This means that roughly 4500 school children will have access to new books to enhance their learning. The donation of funds for solar lights will help an additional 46 students study at night and provide light in their homes without using costly and dangerous kerosene. As well, these solar lights can be used to charge a cell phone which otherwise would cost the farmer both time and money to charge it at a local phone kiosk.
One school, in a particularly dry and rocky area, will receive milk for their roughly 50 younger students for the year. These children will be served their morning uji (porridge) made with milk as opposed to the usual water. This makes the uji incredibly more nutritious for these young minds and bodies. This nutritious uji sets these students up for a good learning day at school and, fast forward, for a greater chance of success and ability to help break the cycle of poverty in Kenya.
I assure you that 100% of your donations are going straight to Kenya. In fact, items are being purchased, distributed and installed by our Kenyan staff as you read this newsletter.
Thank you once again to all our volunteers and donors for your support and confidence that FHF is working hard to make sustainable change in the lives of Kenyan farm families.