October 2017

Ruth Dodd introduced Celia Beasley who spoke about the ‘Meru Women’s Garden Project’. Meru is a part of Kenya where life is hard and very traditional. Women do the work and rear the children and the men, as many men will if they get chance, do the important job of talking, drinking, and being bored with too much leisure time.

The Garden Project is not just about more food being grown efficiently by sustainable gardening techniques, but also about educating and empowering the women to work together and stand up to damaging cultural practices. Although Female Genital Mutilation has been outlawed in Kenya, over half the girls endure the practice, which has very adverse consequences for their future well-being.

In the communities where the Meru Garden Project has begun 41% of women and girls were grossly malnourished. Life is difficult. Some women walk 10 kilometres to fetch water for cooking, personal needs, watering animals, and lastly, watering any crops. This is the job of women, girls and small boys.

198 women in five groups from small villages are being trained in appropriate and sustainable gardening techniques, which they will spread through their communities. Soon further groups will start their training. More information can be found at MERUWOMEN.ORG

SI is collaborating with the women of Meru and Child.org. to carry forward this much needed programme. The members of Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland are committed to raising vital funds from 2016 to 2019.

Celia was thanked by Janet Stevens.

SI Amber Valley’s next fundraising event will be a stall at the Switch-on of the Alfreton Christmas Lights on Saturday 25th November in the afternoon. Do visit us on Firs House Car Park for our festive delicacies and our popular ‘Pick the Name of a Soft Toy’ lucky dip. There were some super Teddies and assorted creatures to take home last year.