Last February 21st, ECHO EA staff members and friends were able to visit Kindness Children’s Care Orphanage in Kijenge Juu in Arusha. The orphanage is a part of the ministry of Rev. Yohana Mwampamba since 2009. He and his family have started the orphanage out of concern for providing for the street children in their community.
Before opening the center, Rev Yohana spent several months in Dar es Salaam sleeping in the streets alongside other homeless families as he sought out seed money for his dream. Eventually, he was able to get in touch with the acting prime minister’s wife, Tunu Pinda, to provide the funding necessary to open this facility.
Currently, the orphanage houses 36 children ranging in age from pre-schoolers to college students. Rev. Yohana and his wife, Christina, have been able to send each of the children to school. As they are dependent on donations, the house at times experiences challenges in providing food and basic nutrition. Seeing this need; Herry Charles, an ECHO EA friend who volunteers regularly at the orphanage, presented the idea for creating a training event and drove out with supplies for creating two sack gardens, two tire gardens and raised beds.
Herry advised in providing a more sustainable source of food that also would be space efficient. The sack gardens and tire gardens were the best way to utilize the small space that was available at the center. Previous sack gardens were met with great success at Plaster House and Asante Orphanage where they were constructed. Besides providing food, the gardens were an attractive feature as they produced a fountain of flowing sweet potato leaves and other greens. The field was a bit larger than expected and thus a few small beds were added to provide more space for growing.
The older boys were eager to help dig up soil and fertilizer for the beds and brought in buckets of stone for the sack gardens. They saw a demonstration on how to fill and measure the planting spaces in the sack gardens and measured the second garden to complete on their own. The tire gardens and the raised beds were done in partnership under the supervision of Venance Mollel.
Amaranth seeds were planted in the tire gardens and Chinese lettuce filled in the sack gardens. In the raised bed, kale seedlings were planted. Around the garden space the remaining kale was filled in along with lettuce and African eggplant seedlings that had been brought along. Using the tire gardens as seed beds, it was explained to the youths that the seedlings from the tire gardens can be used to fill in the sack gardens or future gardens. The students who are cared for at Kindness Children’s Care will now have a space to grow fresh greens for their kitchen.
After a follow up session, the garden was seen to have been damaged by the neighbor’s chickens. Only a few plants had been spared including maize which had been protected by netting. Rev. Yohana had proceeded to collect funds to buy and install a chicken fence around the garden grounds. He and the boys will continue to reconstruct the garden beds and replant the sack gardens. While the damage to the gardens was disheartening, seeing the continuing efforts of Rev. Yohana was evidence of his care and provision for the children.