At the 26th July meeting, President Jenny introduced Pat Shore and Sandra Jowett from SI Harrogate. They are the Ambassadors for Yorkshire for the SIGBI International project MERU GARDENS KENYA.
The area of Meru in the north of Kenya is very rural and the people who live there suffer from extreme poverty and malnutrition. 22% do not receive any education as the rural areas are extremely poorly educated compared to the towns. FGM and HIV and other diseases are prevalent.
The Meru Gardens for Life project was chosen to be the SIGBI three year project and all Clubs are asked to help raise money as £150,000 was estimated to be able to create 500 sustainable gardens in the region.
The objects of the project are to EDUCATE, EMPOWER and ENABLE women to provide food, education and money for their families. Each family has its own garden around their rural homes to grow their own food and any excess is sold in the markets or road-side stalls. They are provided with tools, seeds, plants and the girls are taught husbandry in their rural schools. Girls are trained for 18 weeks and several gardens are now complete. A Soroptimist member who lives in Kenya makes sure that any money is used by the women in this project. It does not go to the government. It is linked with 2 organisations, CIFURD and child.org
3000 litre water tanks are being installed in the villages and acacia trees are being replanted. These are to replace the deforestation of trees for firewood. Energy efficient stoves are being used instead of burning large quantities of wood.
At the Autumn Harrogate Flower Show 2016, SI Harrogate were fortunate to enter the Show with a replica of a Meru Garden. They received a silver award for their entry. The 6 committee members received help in various ways from other Club members plus Soroptimisters ! They made £1759. 4p selling Kenyan jams etc. Lots of interest from the public and publicity for SI but unfortunately no new members.
SI Harrogate are continuing to raise money for the project and are raffling-off several hand-made quilts and still selling Kenyan jams and pasta sauces !
Numerous questions were asked by our Members and a very comprehensive display of the project was most interesting.
President Jenny thanked Pat and Sandra for a very interesting evening. It was very beneficial to know all the details of the project. Jenny presented Pat with a cheque for £160. 10p which was the proceeds of a coffee morning held in Sewerby last year.