Boury Thiam supports a family of eight in the community of Yougouré. In the past, it was difficult for her to find work without leaving her children and the village. She explains that she could only work during the rainy season since that is when she could grow crops in her community. However, today Boury not only can work from her village year-round but helps other women do the same as Yougouré’s first community garden president.
With the help of CREATE!‘s technicians, Boury and the other village members started cultivating their own community garden. This means that fresh vegetables will be available year-round right outside their homes instead of miles away in the weekly market. “Before, I used to buy vegetables in the Mboss market,” Boury tells us. The market is often more expensive since the produce is imported from other regions. Between the high cost and the distance of the market, families often abstain from buying vegetables every week. With the community gardens however, families can eat fresh vegetables every day at no financial cost. Boury explains, “Since we started gardening in the village, my children consume more vegetables and their diet has improved.”
Cultivating a Community Garden
“The vegetables we grow are different than those we used to buy in the market,” Boury says. “We don’t use chemical products and the technicians are teaching us how to use compost from the animals.” Every week, Boury and the other community members meet with CREATE!‘s technicians under one of the village’s large trees for an agricultural training session. The sessions include learning organic cultivation procedures and planning for future garden activities. “I am learning new techniques from the technicians and after graduation I will be able to garden easily,” she explains. After graduation she will continue to lead the community garden group with the techniques she practiced and perfected with CREATE!’s technicians.
Boury and her cooperative garden group are currently learning how to sustain different types of vegetables popular in the local diet. This includes tomatoes, eggplant, onion, lettuce, turnips, okra, and peppers. The garden group aims to tailor their vegetable production to meet demand during local religious festivals so that they can generate income from selling the excess produce.
Developing Jobs from the Village
Along with improving community health and nutrition, the community garden also gives women a stable occupation and the opportunity to develop self-sufficiency. Community gardens provide enough vegetables to have the excess sold to neighboring villages and in the markets. This means that women can generate a stable income to support their families right from their communities. “Now, women are working in the village and they don’t need to leave their families,” Boury says, “I am able to work and take care of my children.”
Putting Family Time first
Supporting a family of eight can often get demanding. But with a job that lets her work from the community, Boury can spend quality time with her children. Every day after her work in the community garden is finished, she brings a large basket of fresh vegetables home to cook for her family. Through training with CREATE!’s technicians, Boury built an improved cookstove in her kitchen. The improved cookstove not only helps the environment but is also a safer option compared to the traditional open fires. Now, Boury’s children can safely spend time with her in the kitchen as she prepares a delicious meal for them with vegetables she grew herself.
Women like Boury have the power to change the future of their community. She is a mother of eight, a garden cooperative president, and all in all is building a better life for her family and the community. Consider supporting more women like Boury in rural Senegal by donating to CREATE!’s projects today.