“I remember when I was a child, we had no such a thing like drought. Nowadays, the seasons have completely changed – the months that we knew as a rainy season are no longer what they used to be. The sunny season is also not the same. Everything has changed,” says 40-year-old farmer Rebecca in Uganda. She fondly remembers the days of her childhood when families could easily rely on agriculture and not worry about climate change ruining their crops.
CLIMATE CHANGE BROUGHT HUNGER TO THE FAMILY
However, it was climate change that dramatically changed the lives of Rebecca, her husband, and their three daughters: Jemimah, Jairah, and 9-year-old Praise. A few years ago, Praise and her family watched in horror as their family farm, located in the Wakiso District, become ravaged by drought.
“Wells, boreholes and wetlands dried up. Our gardens were so dry that they barely produced any food and remember, that was our livelihood. We suffered because we couldn’t provide enough food for our family,” Rebecca told us.
With the drought, not only were Rebecca and her husband not growing food for income, they couldn’t provide their girls with fresh and nutritious produce. Praise and her sisters often went hungry. Her parents took on as much casual labour work as they could. Praise’s mother, Rebecca, started going door to door in the community asking if she could do people’s laundry for a small fee. Her father became a porter at a construction site. Still, the money they earned wasn’t enough to provide regular meals.
FARMING TO END HUNGER
Hope was not lost for Rebecca and her children. Rebecca heard about a program run by Canadian Feed The Children’s local partner HUYSLINCI and reached out. Finally, Rebecca and her family were able to get the help they desperately needed.
Praise became a sponsored child, which secured her placement in school and provided daily nutritious meals. This helped alleviate worry for Rebecca. HUYSLINCI enrolled Rebecca in a variety of climate-smart agriculture trainings that she had always wanted to attend. “We were taken to a farm I always dreamed of visiting,” says Rebecca. “I learned how to prepare nutrient-rich soil and use multi-storey gardens, fertilizers and pesticides. That helped me a lot, my garden before wasn’t planted with the same amount of thought and care.”
Now Rebecca, Praise and the rest of their family have a flourishing farm that crops a variety of crops like tomatoes, cassava, beans and sukuma wiki, which is a type of collard green and a hearty drought-resistant crop. Rebecca’s incredibly proud of the work she’s been able to accomplish. “The modern farming techniques we learned have greatly improved on the volume of our harvest and we harvest all year round. This was not the case before. Our crops last the whole year now and give plenty of food to my children as well as providing household income.” In addition, Praise and her sisters love to help their mom in the garden at home by assisting with the weeding and planting of seeds.
In the future, Rebecca plans to buy more land to expand her farm in the near future. But for now and most importantly, Praise and her sisters now eat an array of healthy foods. Rebecca is relieved to see how the girls’ health has improved as a result. “I appreciate the preventative medicine that a balanced diet can bring. Since our diets have improved, my children no longer have frequent flus and colds and are much healthier.”
Rebecca is incredibly thankful to HUYSLINCI, Canadian Feed The Children and all the generous donors who helped support their family. “Thank you to the people of Canada for everything, especially for supporting my daughter Praise.”
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