For over ten years, Seed Program International has partnered with Church Aid Incorporated (CAI) in Liberia to support capacity-building for women. As part of the response to Liberia’s Ebola outbreak, which claimed over 5,000 lives and left more than 25,000 orphans in Liberia and the surrounding countries, CAI also offers services to survivors to help them rebuild their lives and move toward self-sustenance. In addition to services like psychosocial counseling, which helps manage trauma and stress, survivors need to care for their basic needs, like hunger and nutrition.
Ms. Miatta, Church Aid’s Women’s Empowerment Program Director writes, “One of the many problems that surfaces during trauma counseling is the question of basic sustenance or inadequate food for mothers and children. When a person is traumatized, one of the ways to avoid a relapse when under psychosocial treatment is to ensure that their basic needs are met.”
Through SPI’s partnership training package, Women in Gardening: Sowing Seeds to Grow Food, CAI distributes seeds throughout the country and puts the power to improve people’s lives back back in their own hands. This community-driven training program works with women who are involved in gardening as a way of earning an income and having food in their homes.
Most women have a traditional working knowledge of growing leafy greens. This program improves their gardening skills and allows them to grow a wider variety of vegetables on a larger scale. Not only do women save money on vegetables they would have purchased at the market for a high cost, but they grow enough food to sell within their community and feed other families.
Famata writes, “I have received [vegetable] seeds three times from here, though I don’t have a big land, but I enjoyed the seed. The seeds grow well. When I brought the seeds, my friends said you are wasting your time because these seeds won’t grow. But I told them, I will try them because the people would not send them if they won’t grow and I trust the people who give them to me. As God could have it, all the seeds I took grew so well. I received squash, and so many grew that I didn’t know what to do with them. We ate them and sold some. Many people came to ask for vegetables. I felt so proud and happy.”
This is what women’s empowerment is about, and your purchase with Sweet Blossom Gifts makes that possible!
P.S. Gardening is also therapeutic! Read about the benefits of gardening at NPR and CNN.