Many of the new girls that we take in at MGRC are suffering from starvation. Our waiting list is so long that I can only take in the most at-risk girls, so each case is extreme. This creates a unique challenge, because in order to accomplish our main goals of empowering and educating the girls we rescue, they need to be healthy! This is part of why I determined at the beginning of this project that it wouldn’t be effective to only sponsor education. In order to make the biggest impact, I needed to fully adopt the girls. In short, I never intended to take on the responsibility of feeding over 50 people 24/7, but here I am…
Malnutrition and starvation is part of everyday life in this region, especially if you happen to be born female
In most bomas, girls are last in line for food, clothing, and education. This is no exception in the case of Joyce, one of the more recent girls who joined our center. Joyce comes from a small village about 2 hours away. She has no father and her mother is handicapped. When her mother saw me at the market she begged me to help. I sent a motorcycle to bring Joyce to the Market so we could evaluate the situation. When she arrived she could barely stand.
I always try and determine a girls age since most families do not know or keep track of the Child’s birthday. When we looked at Joyce she had her two top teeth missing which made us think she was 6 to 8 years old. Then her mother told us she did not lose her teeth naturally. Men in her village pulled them out with a knife saying she had an evil spirit that needed to be removed. We estimate Joyce to be 5 to 6 years old.
She never attended school but is now enrolled in Nursery class and doing very well. We had her on a special feeding program for two months to get her weight up and now she is eating normal and looks health with the full energy of any young girl. She is a true delight to have at the center!
Sustainable projects as the solution…AND the challenge
As the number of girls residing full-time increased at a rapid rate, I began implementing sustainable projects that would continue to support us as we grew. The challenges with sourcing enough food to feed a crowd this size aren’t just financial. Since the nearest market is an hour and a half drive away in my gas-guzzling, all-terrain vehicle, going to the market is an all-day ordeal. Plus we are at the mercy of whatever the vendors happen to have available, and we can’t get too much in one trip because we only have one vehicle.
The projects below have helped us to be more independent and efficient, and keep our costs down so we can feed our growing number of girls a balanced diet. I’m very adamant that each girl receives the appropriate mix of protein, fruits, vegetables and grains each day, and these projects have been very important in achieving that goal.
In 2017-18, with the help of generous donors, we were able to setup 3 dairy cows on-site that provide milk for the girls. We no longer have to buy milk from the market!
The garden has been an ongoing battle. We’re in a very dry region with no running water, hence gardening is not very common and there’s not a lot of tribal knowledge. It’s been a lot of trial and error, but today about 10% of the vegetables that we feed the girls are picked fresh from our garden. It will take some work to get to 100%, but I know we can do it.
Last year for Christmas we asked for and received 100 goats from our supporters! This gift will continue to make an impact on our daily lives for many years to come. (Click here to learn about this year’s Holiday Fundraiser). I setup an area on-site for the goats to roam and take shelter when needed. Right now we don’t get much milk from the goats because this is important for the baby goats to have. As the herd gets more and more mature, they will provide us milk and a substantial amount of meat.
We just got our first chickens! Stay tuned for progress on this adventure.
Between sustainable projects that help control our cost, two cooks that live at the center full-time, and a modest weekly grocery budget, we are able to provide our girls nutritious, healthy food for $1.43 a day per person! Every dollar donated goes directly to the care of the girls. We operate entirely off public donations, angel donors, and volunteers, and we use our limited resources in the most efficient way possible so we can give as many girls the best lives we possibly can.