Women’s empowerment is a major goal of our training programs in rural Senegal, and time after time, along with this empowerment, we also see women taking great pride in the new lives they are building and the skills they are learning. Arame Thiam is one of these women, and lives in Thienaba, CREATE!’s newest graduated community. At the age of 35, she is supporting eleven people in her family. Participating in CREATE!’s programs has been highly transformative for her.
“Before we started working with CREATE!, I used to buy vegetables from Kaolack or Gossas, and I just couldn’t afford the quantity I really needed for my family,” she says. “But now with our garden site I can get a variety of vegetables for the daily meal, and after each harvest, I sell the excess in the market to make money.”
With the availability of food grown in her village, Arame notes that her family has become healthier now that they eat a diet rich with vegetables every day. “We’ve worked with CREATE! for many years and have recently graduated,” she explains. “Over these years, CREATE! technicians taught us techniques in vegetable cultivation, so now I’m able to manage my own garden plot independently.” Now that Thienaba has graduated, Arame works with the other cooperative members under the leadership of their cooperative president, Mere Top, to manage their community garden on their own, with weekly support visits from CREATE! technicians.
Having access to water through her village’s rehabilitated well has made the biggest difference for Arame. “I like all of CREATE!’s projects, but I really appreciate the well water because it has improved my health,” she says, in addition to making it easier for her community to grow their own food. Each day, she waters her garden plot and collects 20 liters to take back to her family.
“CREATE!’s partnership with our community has really changed our life conditions,” she says. “I am so proud to be part of this project.”