Nana smiles. It’s been a tough year in Mali – as it has across the globe – but things are looking up for her. She’s gone from days where her six children had to beg the neighbours for scraps of leftover food because there was none in the house, to being able to feed her family and pay for the things they need.
‘God is true and compassionate,’ says Nana. ‘He gave us grace – especially through this market garden.’
At 38, Nana has a husband who lost his job because of the pandemic, five small sons and one daughter. And now, she also has a plot in a market garden that was set up by Tearfund's local partner in her neighbourhood. Market gardens allow people to grow food to eat and sell, so they can earn an income and lift themselves out of poverty. It has given her a new way to look after her children and her husband.
‘We had nothing but prayer, hoping that God would help us.’
Where Nana and her family live, most people make a living through farming. This can be tough because the Sahel region in West Africa, where Mali is located, is heavily affected by the climate crisis. In the rainy season, Nana’s village often floods badly, and in the dry season temperatures can reach dangerously scorching.
The pandemic has made life harder for everyone. Nana’s husband, who used to drive heavy farm machinery for a living, was one of many who were laid off by companies struggling in the lockdowns.
Then, Nana’s daughter became seriously ill. Nana says she had sleepless nights, crying and feeling overwhelmed.
‘I did not know what would happen to us,’ she says. ‘I almost lost my mind and we had nothing but prayer, hoping that God would help us.’
Free to flourish
Nana’s village has a market garden that was set up by Tearfund and our local partner, JEM Mali, to help care for the environment as well as help people overcome poverty in a sustainable way. The market garden has four wells and a water tower, which distributes water to retention basins and ensures that the crops have the best chance of thriving.
‘I was not interested in this activity before,’ Nana tells us, ‘but after thinking it over and seeing some women making an income in the market garden, I felt urged to start something in order to help my family.’ So, she went to the management committee and asked whether she too could have a plot to cultivate.
Finding space in the market garden wasn’t easy but the committee found a solution. Nana received a plot of 100 square metres and now she grows tomatoes, okra, onions and carrots, which meet a good part of her family's food needs. And with the income from selling some of her vegetables, she also manages to care for her children, send them to school and support her husband.
Innovative solutions like these enable people to break free from poverty and flourish. Join with us in praying for more opportunities like this for people like Nana.
Pray with us
- Thank God for the changes – like the market garden – that are bringing hope to Nana. Pray for an abundant harvest for her and the other women who rely on the market garden to provide for their families.
- Pray for Nana’s daughter – that she will be well and be able to access any medical help that she needs.
- Lift up all those who have lost jobs and hope through the pandemic. Pray for restoration and provision for families struggling to meet even their most basic needs.
Story originally published on January 7, 2022 by Tearfund UK by Tarryn Pegna. Main Image: Tearfund Partner