Story by Josephene Duffy
The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation like to introduce a special Subscriber to the Kitchen Garden Program, St Kizito Sabina Day and Boarding Primary School. Established in 1995, Children of Uganda cares for orphans and other disadvantaged children in Uganda with the goal of helping them become healthy and productive members of society who assume leadership roles and positively impact Ugandan society. In recent years, the organisation has partnered with Permaculture Across Borders to introduce a food and water security program to St Kizito Sabina Primary School and Sabina Home in the Rakai in southern Uganda (see the blog)
When Board member of Children of Uganda Margaret Kasekende visited Australia in the summer of 2009, she was impressed by what she learned about the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Program through a Collingwood College Tour. There she hatched a plan to share the ideas underlying our Program with the teachers of St Kizito Sabina, attended by all the children in the Sabina Children of Uganda home. Margaret invited the tour host Prue Gill back to Uganda, and Prue said yes on the spot.
Prue (teacher, Kitchen Garden Foundation Board member and garden volunteer) travelled to Uganda in 2009 and again in 2011, to work with teachers on making the already large permaculture vegetable garden central to the teaching and learning activities of the primary school curriculum. The school will also use the vegetable garden as a site for community learning and development, and in that way to contribute to the improvement of the diet of Ugandan children.
Prior to the development of the permaculture garden at Sabina, the children’s diet consisted primarily of Posho (a white cornmeal) with a spoon of red beans, twice a day, every day of the year. Now the children are enjoying a good range of leafy green vegetables several times a week, an egg every week and fruit from their own orchard – mango, avocado, jackfruit, pineapple and passionfruit. The later corn harvest was so exciting that school classes were cancelled for the afternoon and a permaculture display of all fruits and vegetables grown by the school was prepared by children in the permaculture club. For some children, their first whole cob of corn was eaten on this special day.
Teachers at the school are using the garden in many ways – for learning about agriculture and food and water security, for hands-on activities in mathematics and science, for inspiration in writing. Children in Years 4 and 5 have weekly garden classes with the garden manager and their class teacher. They are even trading fresh eggs for much-needed resources for the school. The Foundation was proud to present St Kizito Sabina with a donation of a Subscription to the Kitchen Garden Program in 2011, and we have been overwhelmed by the thanks we recently received from Jude SSentale, Director of Studies:
It’s really amazing having friends who are caring like you, I did receive the parcel that contained kitchen garden curriculum resources and the soft copies that you have always sent. We’re currently harvesting lots of vegetables at school and both the children and staff are having well-balanced diets. The children are now able to harvest what they planted and prepare them to be served to the rest of the school towards lunch hours. We hope this is a great achievement with different groups being invited to have a hands-on at specific schedules in our kitchen garden premises.
With the receipt of all the resources that you sent, we are now more equipped in this new project at our school and looking forward to receiving more of such guidance. The Foundation is incredibly proud to be associated with the work of this remarkable organisation, run by such dedicated people. It’s also great to see our resources being used to combat another health issue of our time – not just obesity but malnutrition as well. We thank St Kizito Sabina for being part of our kitchen garden family and look forward to many more inspirational stories of their wonderful students. If you’d like to contribute to the work of the Permaculture Sabina project please visit the blog.
About the author: Josephene Duffy is the Communications Coordinator for the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation.