Imagine standing in a field with soil so rich, you think your feet might just take root, right here. Any seed dropped would sprout and grow immediately. You can see the harvest of mouth-watering food in a vivid daydream that your farm tools help you provide for your family.
Now imagine you have six hungry little ones depending on you to feed them. You’re still standing in the field, dreaming of the harvest. But you also remember the game you invented to distract your four-year-old from hunger pangs last night.
You’re surrounded by fertile land, but you have nothing to plant and no tools to raise your food.
Many families face this dilemma in villages where Food for the Hungry works. It’s the reason why providing seeds and farm tools is often one of the very first ways FH ends poverty.
Farm tools are often the first thing a family sells when times are tough. Someone gets sick and they have to buy medicine. They sell their hoe and machete to finance a trek to another location when crops die due to drought or flood. When they return home they have nothing but the clothes on their backs, much less hoes or machetes.
In times of war, marauders steal tools. Replacing tools is expensive, especially when you have to choose between tools and feeding your children.
A Hoe Makes A Difference
Anguache Wall in her garden.
Anguche Wall, age 36, is a wife and mother of three in north-central Ethiopia. For Anguache, receiving the simple gifts of a hoe and a watering can were key to her family’s fight against hunger
Anguache plays a lead role in the farm activities with her husband, alongside her routine household chores. Even though both husband and wife tried their best to work on their farm, they could not produce enough food to feed the family year-round.
Out of a subsistence farming income, “we were supposed to feed our children, buy all school supplies and cover medical expenses whenever our children got sick,” says Anguache.
So FH’s Ethiopia program provided her with vegetable seeds like chard, carrots, kale, and pumpkin that she could grow in her small household garden. This USAID-funded program also provided seeds for potatoes, and six chickens she could raise to lay protein-rich eggs.
FH provided the hoe with a sharp new edge that made the backbreaking work much easier. And the watering can helped her carry water efficiently and accurately measure how much she was giving the plants.
“I never thought that it would be possible to produce my families’ choice at my small garden. I learned that children grew up vibrant only when they are fed properly,” Anguache says.
“I no longer fear”
Due to FH’s help with tools and with vegetable and poultry production, and to training on how to save money and use credit wisely, she and her savings group put away 1,900 Ethiopian birr (about $90.00 USD) as a group. Anguache can apply to her group for a loan when she needs capital to improve her farming business or pay for emergencies.
“I no longer fear casual expenses” like yearly school supplies or simple medicines when the children are sick, Anguache says. For Anguache, simple gifts will keep on giving for years to come.
Consider helping women like Anguache grow nutritious vegetables by giving farm and garden tools in the FH gift catalog. Your gift, in the long run, will provide what it takes to help children stay healthy and stay in school.