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Out of Debt After Two Years of Environmentally-Friendly Farming

Mukesh, a young farmer who was saddled with an inherited debt and heavy family responsibilities, has paid off all his financial obligations with profits from his successful farm. He was able to celebrate this amazing achievement after two years, thanks to ag training and support he received from the program.

Mukesh and his wife, Jeetni, live with his grandfather, a brother, and their small son. Mukesh was six months old when his mother died and his father abandoned him, leaving him to live with his grandfather along with an unpaid debt for the purchase of a tractor. The grandfather continued to pay off the loan while teaching Mukesh about farming, and was able to send him to school until the seventh grade. When his grandfather grew too old to farm entirely by himself, Mukesh quit school to help him.

At 19, Mukesh married Jeetni and assumed responsibility for the farm and loan in addition to his family obligations, but by then the interest was so large that he struggled to keep up.

Around that time, the Bhatigachh program started helping farmers in his village, training them on growing vegetables, making their own organic fertilizer, insecticide, and pesticide, and how to irrigate their crops. Mukesh was glad to learn sustainable ways to improve his farming, grow a wider variety of vegetables, and market them locally. He’s leased 1.25 acres of land, and grows everything from leafy vegetables and gourds to tomatoes, chilies, okra, radish, cauliflower and beans. His monthly profits quickly allowed him to pay down the old loan, and within two years he was out of debt.

He is happy and thankful for the program, which came just at the right time when he was overwhelmed with problems.  Says Mukesh, “I am so grateful for your help.”

Caption: A smiling Mukesh harvests gourds destined for market

Nepal Bhatigachh program
Led by Mennonite Central Committee with Local Partner BICWS

09/26/2018 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Tackling hunger, one seed at a time

For Darla Stewart and other Waverly First United Methodist Church members, a garden project has become a hands-on mission.

Stewart, an administrative assistant at the church, said the garden was planted this year to grow fresh food for the community and to raise funds for an overseas project through the Foods Resource Bank.

Stewart said the children who attend the church’s Sunday School program have been working on the garden to grow peas, lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables. An acre of sweet corn was recently added.

This is teaching the children about charity, Stewart said. “It’s not just throwing money at something,” she said. “It’s actually doing mission [work] with their hands and their hearts to help others.”

05/11/2016 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Family livelihoods successfully strengthened as Malawi program ends

As FRB’s Malawi-Kasungu-Mzimba program draws to a close, a report marks the program’s success and indicates that lives and livelihoods have been strengthened with training and support. In one of the world’s least-developed countries (171 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index), farmers have had to face such challenges as declining soil fertility, plant and soil diseases and pests, lack of access to water, and the high risks of depending on one crop (maize) for survival.

The program’s focus has been on expanding and strengthening agricultural-based livelihoods through the introduction of crop diversification and appropriate agricultural production techniques like

03/21/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More

Reflecting on the 1st year shows progress in Timor Leste

Participants from FRB’s Timor Leste-Viqueque program recently reviewed their first-year progress and gave feedback on program strengths and weaknesses during a “beneficiary accountability” meeting. They expressed gratitude for updates from program staff on project goals and objectives and for the chance to weigh in, stating that it was the first time any programming organization had taken the time to report back to them or ask them their opinions.

01/06/2014 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment | Read More
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