Farm provides nutritious food for children and community while utilized as an agricultural training center
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries working in the Makululu settlement in Kabwe, Zambia, were able to purchase land to develop a farm thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco.
Salesians developed the farm near the Don Bosco Children Home so that the food grown is a source of nutrition for the children and the local community. The farm is also utilized as an agricultural training center. The Don Bosco Children Home transforms the lives of street children by providing shelter, education, and agricultural training to help break the cycle of poverty and provide opportunities for financial independence.
During the last rainy season, from November 2020 to April 2021, Salesians cultivated maize, beans, soya beans and sweet potatoes. The harvest was good and provided nutrition for the children at the center. During the upcoming rainy season, Salesians will increase the crop cultivation and are hoping to be able to start raising animals including poultry, goats, pigs and rabbits. Since the project launched in 2018, Salesian missionaries purchased the land, put up wire fencing around the farm and created an entry gate.
"The new farm is also a source of education for the young students," said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. "We appreciate our donors helping to support this initiative as it means a great deal to the community. The children are fed from this farm and are having a chance to learn skills they might not otherwise, which is helping them prepare for the future and an independent life."
More than 40 percent of children between the ages of 7-14 do not attend school in Makululu. The area once had no formal education. Many of the local families rely on basic trades to earn a meager living and to feed their families. They set up stalls with vegetables, fish, fruit, stone slabs, furniture and products from China. There is great poverty in the community with many residents lacking electricity, enough food or enough money to buy needed clothing.
Poverty is widespread in Zambia with 64 percent of the total population living below the poverty line. For those living in rural areas, the poverty rate rises to 80 percent, according to UNICEF. Over the past three decades, incomes in Zambia have fallen steadily and people do not have enough money to meet basic needs such as shelter, nutritious food and medical care.
The HIV/AIDS epidemic has also taken a devastating toll on Zambia's children. There are 1.2 million children classified as orphaned and vulnerable by UNICEF, and these children struggle to find education, basic services and hope for their future.
Photos courtesy of Salesian Missions (contact for usage permissions)
Salesian Missions -- Zambia
UNICEF -- Zambia