The school garden that keeps on giving!

Being at school all day is important for a child’s growth, brain development and social skills. But being at school on an empty stomach makes it next to impossible for any child to learn, especially young children.

Ensuring there’s enough food to go around can be a challenge at many schools in rural Mali, but at this elementary school in Barouéli, Mali, that’s all about to change.

You reap what you sow

Young children in the school garden

The crops from the school garden will help keep students healthy all year round.

Plan provided teachers and students at the school with materials, equipment and training to create their very own school garden. Equipped with shovels, wheelbarrows, rakes, hoes and wire fencing, students and teachers were able to prepare their land for harvest.

With enough seeds to plant a five-hectare stretch of garden, they were set. With their new watering cans, students began watering their crops in hopes of a bountiful yield.

Sure enough, their hopes were answered. Potatoes, okra, onions, cucumbers and tomatoes all began to take shape, and with careful care and maintenance thanks to a well-trained group of teachers, students and local community members, the garden kept growing and growing.

A nutritious day at school

A young girl watering the school garden.

A group of teachers and students are trained to maintain and care for the school garden.

With the new school garden, students now have access to nutritious food every day at school. In fact, a new meal program in effect at the school keeps students healthy and daily attendance rates high.

What’s more, the school’s garden grew beyond the needs of its staff and students, so 182 kg of potatoes was shared with the Plan-supported Early Childhood Development Centre. Now the preschool children have a hearty meal program, too.

Extra food for thought

Even after feeding all the students and sharing with the preschool, there are still extra vegetables to be had. The excess produce is sold at local markets, with all proceeds supporting the school’s development. But the garden is still growing!

“We are very happy with this project,” explains Drissa, Chair of the school management committee. “In response to the strong demand, we’ve added more space to the garden so that families have space to grow their own vegetables.”

It truly is the garden that keeps on giving. And thanks to generous Canadian donors, this garden will keep hundreds of children and families healthy for years to come.

You can sponsor a community, just like Barouéli, and help that community thrive.

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