Mrs. Lina Keji has been employed as a cleaner at Gabat Primary School since 2009. When IIRR introduced Bio-Intensive Gardening in the school, she was excited to see children being taught how to dig, and carry out farming activities. She was particularly excited with the first harvest of eggplants.
Lina says that this was a turning moment in her life. She requested the school administration to allocate her a small plot within the school compound. The request was accepted and she started growing Kudra eggplants, a local vegetable variety. She purchased vegetable seeds for 1500 SSP ($14) and planted them in June 2016. In September 2016, she started harvesting eggplants.
Lina explains, “I was surprised with the yield I got. Every day I leave the school, I go home with eggplants and Kudra from my plot. Previously, we couldn’t afford two meals a day in my home. I now sell some to get income for purchasing seed for the next planting. I have so far received 9,750 SSP ($92) from the sales. I enjoy my work as an employee in the school and my family are now happy with my work.
I always attend the agriculture club sessions in their garden and I apply the knowledge when working in my plot. I support the agriculture club by taking care of the school gardens when the students are in class or on holiday and protect the gardens against stray animals.
My worries are gone. I will continue growing vegetables and even encourage other parents in my community to do the same. I plan to expand my plot so that I get an increased yield and income. I will be able to support my children with school requirements. I am happy that this skill will remain with me forever. Thanks to IIRR!”