PROMISE: Vestine’s Story

“I am called Vestine Mukarugando. I am 55 years old and I live in Kabeza village, Nyamugali cell in Mwiri Sector. I am a widow and I have a family of 7 including 3 children who are under the age of 5. The child that I am carrying is a grandson from my teenage daughter who gave birth at the age of 19. The baby is now 14 months old and was abandoned by the mother who disappeared to the city in search for employment without informing me. The other 2 children under the age of 5 are orphans from my late brother.

While I was catering for my late brothers’ children, my daughter made it worse by abandoning her son thus increasing my burden of responsibility. I have no land to cater for the family and now that we are experiencing a drought, it is very hard to find someone willing to hire me to prepare that land for cultivation for a small fee. Due to poverty and lack of proper knowledge on nutrition, at some point, 2 of these children were found to be malnourished.

I am so glad that I came to know about the PROMISE project that came to our area 3 years ago. It is through this project that I learned how to establish various types of kitchen gardens and use little water (permaculture) to provide nutritious foods that include vegetables and fruits. I am happy that even in this dry season, I have a kitchen garden from which I can harvest some vegetables to feed the children and the family at large.

I am so happy that in addition to the project having provided us with the knowledge on how to take care of our children; providing us with seeds, and farming tools; I have been given a goat as well! I am confident that with this goat, I will be able to get more manure for my kitchen garden and hence increase the yield and eventually eliminate the possibilities of my children getting malnourished again. I believe that if I take good care of this goat, then in about 2 years it will have multiplied and I will be able to sell some of the off-springs and be able to address some other financial issues related to improving the health of my family.”