When you get, give. When You learn, teach. Maya Angelou.
Damaris Ngungu Ilai and her family certainly take this lesson to heart.
After her husband, Francis, took part in Traidcraft Exchange’s training project, he was eager use his new skills to prevent the soil erosion which caused crop failure year after year. The harsh climate of Northern Kenya, and frequent droughts, meant that the family barely produced enough food to eat just once a day.
Francis was one of 2,200 farmers who received training in terrace building and water storage techniques as part of the FIVE project. Hard working and keen to provide for his wife Damaris and their family, he was a dedicated student.
But soon after completing his training, Francis injured his foot in a farm accident, and was unable to work long days in the fields.
Luckily, Francis knows the value of sharing his knowledge with others.
After each training session, Francis had shared all that he had learned with his Damaris. She was able to take over the farm work whilst he recovered. Now he has recovered, they work together, and produce enough food to feed the whole family three times a day, selling whatever is left at local markets.
Thanks to the income the farm now provides, the whole family can keep learning. Their four children are all studying hard. The eldest, Ilai, wants to attend university and be a mechanical engineer. Francis, too, is full of ambitious plans – he is currently learning about growing fruit trees, to diversify his income and help him save for the future.
And it’s not just their family who are benefiting from the skills Francis’ learned on Traidcraft Exchange’s project. Now Damaris and Francis are leading the way for their entire community:
“With the money I earn from selling crops, we can buy fertilizer for next season. I´ve already planted a few mango trees and I´m planning on planting pawpaw and orange trees. I´m proud that others from the community come to see what I´ve been doing and I teach them.”
Support Traidcraft Exchange’s Summer Appeal today, and give more farmers like Francis the chance to learn the skills that will change the future for them and their families.