Learning to Feed Themselves

In Uganda, one of the most important skills to have is gardening/farming.  A large number of Ugandans will live primarily off the harvest of their gardens and the products of their farming.  This important skill is taught to the children of Bethany Village so that when they become adults, they are able to grow food and raise animals for themselves, their future families and to sell as a source of income.

We thought we would take you through a quick tour of the Bethany Farm, so that you can see what skills the children are learning.  The farm has 3 goals at Bethany: feeding the children, agricultural training for the children and supporting the orphanage and homes through profit of food sold.  Bethany Village’s goal is to help eradicate poverty by teaching and training the children to grow the food they need to live.  They currently grow 60% of their food and their goal is to meet 90% of the nourishment needs of the children.

The three areas Bethany Village focuses on, and feel are the most productive, are piggery, dairy and crop.  They raise pigs for pork, not just to feed the children but also to sell for income.  They currently have 20 finishers, 13 growers and 32 feeding piglets.  The children learn how to raise and reproduce piglets for both selling and eating.

The dairy farm currently has 6 cows; four adult cows, one Heifer and one calf.  The milk produced is also sold for income as well as fed to the children of Bethany Village.  The older children would care for the cows as well as milk the cows morning and evening.

The gardens are where the children practice sowing and reaping with various kinds of foods.  They will grow casava (a root vegetable), sweet potato, corn and beans mainly for food to be eaten at Bethany.  There are larger gardens on top of the practice gardens the children have, for harvesting food for the village.  There is also gardens where they grow crops solely for selling in the market.  These gardens would grow vanilla beans, coffee beans and banana trees all together in the same garden, as they compliment each other in growth.  These are the highest profit items to grow, and as such this helps them to produce some income themselves to help sustain the orphanage.

As you can see, Bethany not only gives their children an academic education, but also equips them for their lives after Bethany.  When these children graduate, they are leaving with skills that will help them immensely in not just providing for themselves but also to help generate income in their own home.  In Uganda, this is an extremely valuable skill to have, and will equip the children for success.