Where Nana and her family live, most people make a living through farming. This can be tough because the Sahel region in West Africa, where Mali is located, is heavily affected by the climate crisis. In the rainy season, Nana’s village often floods badly, and in the dry season temperatures can reach dangerously scorching.
The pandemic has made life harder for everyone. Nana’s husband, who used to drive heavy farm machinery for a living, was one of many who were laid off by companies struggling in the lockdowns.
Then, Nana’s daughter became seriously ill. Nana says she had sleepless nights, crying and feeling overwhelmed.
‘I did not know what would happen to us,’ she says. ‘I almost lost my mind and we had nothing but prayer, hoping that God would help us.’
Free to flourish
Nana’s village has a market garden that was set up by Tearfund and our local partner, JEM Mali, to help care for the environment as well as help people overcome poverty in a sustainable way. The market garden has four wells and a water tower, which distributes water to retention basins and ensures that the crops have the best chance of thriving.
‘I was not interested in this activity before,’ Nana tells us, ‘but after thinking it over and seeing some women making an income in the market garden, I felt urged to start something in order to help my family.’ So, she went to the management committee and asked whether she too could have a plot to cultivate.
Finding space in the market garden wasn’t easy but the committee found a solution. Nana received a plot of 100 square metres and now she grows tomatoes, okra, onions and carrots, which meets a good part of her family's food needs. And with the income from selling some of her vegetables, she also manages to care for her children, send them to school and support her husband.
Innovative solutions like these enable people to break free from poverty and flourish. Join with us in praying for more opportunities like this for people like Nana.