Mere Ndeye Thioye, 65, loves working in the Diender cooperative gardening site. She says that she decided to participate in CREATE!’s programs because she wanted to change her life. She adds, “I don’t regret joining the garden cooperative because I have had the opportunity to grow vegetables in my own village. My family now eats a variety of fresh vegetables.” Mere is also happy that she no longer needs to walk five miles to the town of Gossas to purchase chicken. Now, women in Diender are raising chickens cooperatively and many have also started poultry sheds at their homes.
Mere lives in a big household. She has several sons who are away working in Dakar; her daughters-in-law take care of her grandchildren and the household. “Before CREATE!,” Mere says, “I had no purpose. There was nothing for me to do at home. Now, I work at the cooperative gardening site every day. I feel useful again.” She adds that women throughout the village now have the opportunity to grow vegetables and earn money for their families.
Mere believes that Diender has fundamentally changed since the community partnered with CREATE! six years ago. She says, “I have seen the work of many NGOs in Senegal, but CREATE! is the best.”