Community Garden in Malawi
In the course of 2023, Tree of Life wants to create a garden for children and teenagers. Together, we want to build a generation without poverty.
If you ask children in Mitongwe what they want to be when they grow up, you typically get answers such as: ‘footballer, journalist or doctor’ but the chance of actually achieving this is very small. They all hope to be that one positive exception, but in reality, 90% become farmers or ranchers. A few may be craftsmen, salesmen, teachers or drivers. Only 4% of children graduate from high school but they haven’t yet learn a specific trade.
Tree of Life wants to increase the chances for children to realize their dreams at Mitongwe. Food scarcity is one of the biggest obstacles on this path. Not eating enough in a day results in concentration and energy loss. Chronic malnutrition can also have long-term consequences such as growth retardation, learning and memory problems, and reduced immune response. One in three children at Mitongwe is affected by this.
Community Garden: Investing in the Future
Sufficient locally-producing farmers is the first step on the ladder of development. The availability of clean drinking water and nutritious meals enables boys and girls to grow into strong adults.
Healthy relationships and meaningful, relevant and stimulating education are other essential building blocks that Tree of Life wants to offer. The Tree of Life training center plans to initiate a community garden during the course of 2023.
The Mitongwe Training center is the place to be for educational purposes. People can learn about agriculture, agroforestry and animal husbandry. There is a need for a variety of vegetables, herbs, fruit tree and nut trees – in a demonstration and production setting.
The community garden can introduce other kinds of vegetables to kids, by cooking and tasting them together. Tree of Life can offer training to local schools, kids clubs and for grown-ups from an existing team of trainers. Kids can learn how to take care of a piece of land, supervised by a trainer.
Proceeds for nutrition programs
It is too much of a stretch to let the youth take full care of the garden themselves. The garden will be managed by a team of local women. The produce will be used primarily for the feeding programs of the various children’s and youth clubs, the church, the elementary school on the Mitongwe property and the staff of the training center, and for the outreach programs to the frail elderly.
As more vegetables and herbs are grown, they can be processed locally into chutneys, soups, sauces, etc., to make them sustainable beyond the growing season.