Hope and Food Both Sprout from the Ground

Family in RwandaSerafine, her husband, and their three young children live in the Ndego district of Rwanda.

When Serafine and her family returned from neighbouring Tanzania after the genocide in 1993, they returned to subsistence farming in their native district of Kirehe. They struggled to feed their family and build a life.

The Ndego area had been part of a national park. The Rwandan government opened the area for settlement to accommodate the returning residents after the end of the genocide. Serafine’s family was relocated from the Kirehe to the isolated and challenging district of Ndego.

Located behind a mountain range in one of the driest climates in the entire country, Ndego became their home. For the next 16 years they farmed a tiny plot of land, growing beans, sorghum (a drought-resistant edible grass), and maize (a type of corn). They were doing their best to keep their children healthy, but they needed help. Crops take time to mature. Daily life doesn’t wait for the harvest. Water is scarce and had to be hauled great distances to nourish the garden. Without adequate tools and knowledge, they continued to struggle to feed their family of five. They could not always afford to buy vegetables. On most days they ate only two meals.

ADRA was aware of the hardships faced by the families of Ndego. We began a project to assist families like Serafine’s in overcoming malnutrition and poverty. Serafine and her family are Adventists and had heard of ADRA’s work. They were delighted to be included in the project.

Woman in Rwanda and her Baby

The instructors showed her how to balance the crops and maximize her yield. She was able to diversify her little farm to include more nourishing produce. The cassava (similar to yams), spinach, beets, carrots, and onions helped her children regain their health from years of malnutrition. Serafine learned how to mix foods for a balanced diet. As her family learned new dietary principles to build strength, boost energy, and prevent illness, the meals that the children eat now have the nutrition to combat years of near starvation. They are now able to eat three meals each day.

One of ADRA’s primary goals is to concentrate on the most vulnerable, those for whom the risk of death from preventable diseases is greatest. These include expectant mothers, new mothers, and children under the age of five.

Serafine’s children are now attending school and doing well. Serafine and her husband now report being healthier and stronger since the ADRA sponsored project began. They are not sick as often and feel more protected against the simple but deadly diseases.

The women and families of Ndego make the most with their modest means. Life is still a daily struggle. ADRA helps, supports, trains, and educates the mothers in need. Designed to help every child in the village to not only survive, but thrive, this work can only continue with support from people like you.