‘What makes life so difficult is lack of food,’ says Ruth, who lives in Nigeria with her husband and two youngest children. ‘We suffer periods of hunger that sometimes last five or six months. Then we just eat one meal a day and I have to forage for food.’
Ruth earns what she can collecting firewood from the bush. It’s backbreaking work and the small income it generates isn’t enough to close the hunger gap that Ruth and her family face each year. ‘I try my best but the times when I cannot provide for my children are a huge problem,’ she says.
Cue the bean
But Ruth’s life is beginning to change. And it’s partly thanks to beans. ‘If you plant one bean, you can harvest 80’ explains Ruth, who has received training in farming techniques and crop diversification from Tearfund partner Church of Christ in Nations (COCIN). Ruth has also planted groundnut, guinea corn and maize. And her learning is paying off. ‘In the past I harvested three to five bags of maize,’ explains Ruth. ‘But last harvest, I yielded fifteen bags.’
Through joining a self-help group set up by COCIN, Ruth has also taken out a loan to buy fertiliser, a chicken and two pigs. ‘I hope to breed and sell livestock,’ explains Ruth. ‘My dream is to have enough money to meet all our needs.’ Eventually, Ruth hopes this will include paying for her children to go back to school and providing a metal roof over her house. ‘But still my most urgent challenge is lack of food and periods of hunger,’ she says.
‘My dream is to have enough money to meet all our needs.’
A powerful partnership
For every £288 raised through the Mean Bean Challenge, four people like Ruth can receive training in farming techniques. This can help families grow enough food to beat hunger.
So, just like one bean that can produce a harvest of 80, or the five loaves and two fish that fed 5,000, we give our offering to God. And we ask him to multiply its impact. Take on the Mean Bean Challenge this year, and let God use what you can give to help more people like Ruth transform their lives and overcome hunger for good.