Nutrition gardens provide more than veggies

Thursday, May 25, 2017


photo by: Anne Wuijts

On the remote island of Sumba, nearly 2 of every 3 children are underweight, malnourished or stunted.

But with your support, SurfAid is working in Sumba to guarantee children are given the nutrients they need to develop on track. However, rather than handing out food, SurfAid works with communities to build capacity and food security. This is integral to SurfAid’s “hand up, not hand out” approach to building resilient communities. 

Meet Mama Ross – a 30 year old grandmother who is taking action to ensure her grandchildren are not among the 66% of undernourished children in Sumba and instead grow up healthy and strong.

Thanks to a SurfAid facilitated training in permaculture, Mama Ross knows how to plant and maintain her own garden. Though maintaining the nutrition garden requires significant effort  on top of her regular household and work responsibilities, she recognises the garden’s value, and has enlisted the help of her husband to take care of it.

Mama Ross has already reaped the benefit of two harvests: the first crop fed her family, and the second yield was so bountiful her neighbours and other community members were able to buy her excess vegetables. Mama Ross proudly tells us her customers even pre-ordered vegetables from her next harvest!

Because of her SurfAid-inspired vegetable garden, Mama Ross and her family are earning an additional income of $13 to $18 per week. In a region where the average weekly family income is $28, these gains can mean the difference between life and death. 

Mama Ross uses some of the extra money to buy eggs for her grandchildren. In remote Sumba, where malnutrition is the single biggest contributor to an unnecessarily high number of children under five dying, a reliable source of protein and vegetables is critical to ensuring her grandchildren are healthy.

With your support, SurfAid’s Mother and Child Health Programme not only achieves improved family nutrition, but raises family income too. Thank you for improving the health and self-reliance of people like Mama Ross and her children.