Rwanda greenhouse project feeds families, creates hope

In Rwanda, a group of parents are receiving seeds, training, a greenhouse structure, and entrepreneurial training to jump-start their gardens. Income from their profits allows the group to provide loans to other parents.

By Lauren Fisher, World Vision U.S.
Published October 28, 2013 at 01:00pm PDT

The greenhouse in Morambe village, Rwanda, is packed with tomatoes. One step inside the netting, and the ripe, bright smell hits your nose. The fruits dangle from vines, crowding the aisles and reaching up toward the top of the netted fabric surrounding the metal frame.

For 31-year-old Beth Niyitanga, a mother of three, they are more than another crop. They’re an uncashed check, her ticket out of grinding poverty.

A new harvest every month

“This creates hope for me as a parent,” she said. “The short-term hope of knowing, in a few months, I can feed my family, and the long-term hope that I can someday buy a cow to improve my children’s lives.”

Beth is one of 15 parents in her group gathered together by World Vision; nearly all are mothers of sponsored children. They were given seeds, training, and even the structure for a greenhouse three months ago. Each day they carefully tend and water the plants, watching for the day they get ripe.

“Waiting is not a problem because it gives us joy whenever we come and see them grow,” Beth said.

From the size of the fruit and the deep red color beginning to bloom, that wait won’t be much longer. Then, with the shielding help of the greenhouse and the benefit of irrigation, there should be a new harvest every month. The first recipients of those nutritious tomatoes are her children. Already Beth’s girl and two boys have found it’s one of their favorites.

“They like them so much, sometimes when we have a harvest, we must keep them at home or they will eat them all,” she said.

Economic partnership reaps benefits

The group also received training on accessing the marketplace and getting more value for their efforts. Now instead of going to their local market, Beth and her group use bicycles to go just a few miles further to the main market. There, they can get a much higher price for the same crop.

Beth and her friends have been trained in starting up a savings group. Each week, they put some money in, then loan it out to members in need for a low interest rate. At the end of the year, they’ll be able to each have a portion of the tomato profits to purchase a cow and some mattresses for their families.

Someday they hope to use the rest to help others in their small community and bring more people out of poverty.

The program is part of World Vision’s Campaign For Every Child, an initiative designed to impact 10 million children over five years through assistance in areas like clean water, microfinance, and health.

“We realize that when we come together to solve our problems, it is easier than when we act as individuals,” Beth said. “This group is useful because it has created a family for us.”

How you can help

Pray that more parents would gain access to resources they need to break the cycle of poverty and provide for their families.

Give a one-time gift to support economic development initiatives through the For Every Child campaign. Help us reach our goal of raising $500 million to save the lives of 10 million people.