As Eugenio reported last week, the farm season is in full swing throughout our entire anti-trafficking network in Sudan and South Sudan. This year, our anti-trafficking network partners are cultivating a combined total of 132 acres (nearly three times the approximately 48 acres cultivated in 2020!)
At Hope For South Sudan, along the border of Uganda, our farm will nourish the children in our protection and education programs. With help from Rise Against Hunger, this has also put HFSS on a path toward food independence in the next five years.
But our vision is bigger than just food for our anti-trafficking network.
Our farm school is also empowering the community through agriculture training. This includes incorporating vocational training for our high school students and graduates. Our plans also include engaging and training local women. This year saw the inauguration of our first farm school cohort and the 70 community women we’ve recruited are extremely enthusiastic about the opportunity and work harder and longer than the male day laborers (to the surprise of no one).
However, the demographics of this first farm school cohort reflect the discrepancies that exist in South Sudan and the lack of access to education, proper nutrition, medical care, and employment.
In this group, all of the women are married and:
- Average Age: 28
- Education: 49 had no access to education / 14 have some elementary education / 7 have some high school education and only 1 of those graduated from high school.
- Children (Alive): 260 that live at home and are being supported by these women and their spouses.
- Children (Deceased): 73 (South Sudan has one of the world’s highest child mortality rates and too little access to medical care that is very much reflected here.)
- Extended Family: 95 additional family members are being cared for at their homes, including children from their extended family.
- People in the community directly affected by the project in 2021: 495
In addition to working at the Hope For South Sudan farm, this project also supports the women as they tend their individually-owned one-acre plots of land.
Women like Judy pictured above!
Judy and her husband have three children (ages 5, 3, and a one-month-old baby — she gave birth shortly after the photo was taken!) They also take care of her grandmother and two children who belong to her sister (ages 9 and 16).
Here’s what Judy had to share:
My day starts early in the morning where I wake up, prepare breakfast for my family and then go to the farm at HFSS or go to my farm when there is no work at HFSS. My favorite time is in the afternoon when we are all looking back at the ground we have covered. Having my own farm and a place where I can go and work is my greatest accomplishment. Before, life was so hard without any training of food production and without any meaningful income.
From this program, I have learned on how to plant and manage my farm and out of the money I get when I work, I am able to buy some food item in the house and also meet other domestic needs for my family like payment of medical fees for my family and buying clothing for my children. I am also able to reduce stress since we are working as a team in the group. I feed my family a balanced diet using what is available near me.
The seeds of LUV start small, but they grow mighty.
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